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New York, J. LeaviU. Utica, Bennett li Bright Philadelphia, 
Kej li Meilke. Baltimore, Cuthlng k. Schm. 

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ASTOR. LI -.G/ *wO 
TILDE N Ft>UNOATi::.i:j. 



Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1831, 

by Lincoln &.EDMA5DS, 

in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts. 

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C. 8. D. & B. F. GRIFF IK. 

• 362 Washington- sir etU 


The establishing of a monthly prayer meeting through- 
out Christendom constitutes a new era in the Chria- 
tian church; and the multiplied associations for 
prayer, in relation to Sabbath schools, colleges, th9 
obsenrance of the Sabbath, ajid* othe'l: mteresting ob^ '' 
jectS) evince ihat Christians ai^**now more d^epiy 
sensible of the importance and tHe^^ffiedc; jof $»^|iy- 
er, than they have been at former periQjls. . But) ' 
however deep a consciousness ai^ o^e^ili^Sy have pe^ v 
sessed, of the obligation of prayer, and of its happy 
results, probably no one has ever yet been impressed 
with the subject in a degree corresponding with its 
magnitude. The language of the Bibje, in relation 
to the efficacy of prayer, is very explicit. " Ask, and 
ye shall receive. Seek, and ye shall find. Knock, 
and it shall be opened. Where two or three of you 
are Agreed on earth, touching any thing that ye shall 
ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is 
IB heaven." 


Specific means are established in the kingdom of 
nature y for the production of the fruits of the earth. 
The showers of rain, and the rays of the sun, are in- 
dispensable to their growth and perfection. Prayer 
may be a means, indispensable in the kingdom of 
grace, for the conversion of sinners, and the ultimate 
triumph of the Redeemer's kingdom. The Lord him- 
self affirms, ** For this will I be inquired of by the 
house of Israel, to do it for them.'' 

As the millennial day approaches, the prayers of 
ihe church will undoubtedly be more frequent, more 
united, more fervent, and more manifestly successful, 

\ • till th^ Sipi^t shall be granted in such copious effu- 

• *•• , ••••• 

•* f S*^^i ^^^ ^^. ^i^owlectge of the Lord shall fill the 
eailh, and all men ^shalf know him, from the least to 
tUe.'^eat^rft.:; '•; 

* /SPke -inQsea^ed associations for social and public 

Tpt&y^r, «deftianH jt)f fiJhristians a more particular effort 
* • • • • 

to render them interesting and edifying. All who take 
a part in these exercises are required to seek the gift 
and grace of prayer ; to avoid, in manner and ezpres- 
sion, what might naturally be repulsive, and to aspire 
after an elevated piety, and thus render these seasons 
of a deeply interesting and imjvessive character. 

Dr. Watts' Guide to Prayer has proved peculiarly 

beneficial, and is justly held in the highest estimation 

by the most judicious ministers and Christians. On 

preaenting a neyr edition of the work, it has been con* 



eeived that great l»enefit8 may result from eombiiiii^ 
with it the peculiar excellences of other treatises op 
• prajet; 

The present publication, therefore, consists o( Thief 

In the First Part ia condensed a large pdrtipn o^ 
Bickersteth's excellent treatise on the nature, duijf 
and privilege of prayer, with Tarious other topicS| 
which form an appropriate Introduction to a wprk of 
this nature. 

The Second Part consists of the entire treatise of 
Dr. Watts, entitled a Guide to Prayer ', in which hf 
most judiciously guards the reader against m^iy er- 
rors, and points out most ably luid'sxtiafkctoHhrj'tl)^, 
means for acquiring a holy freedom and pioui eleva- 
tion in the exercise. * ' * • ' .* ' * * 

The Third Part comprises devotional *^e:^eriu8e8'.fe^ 
lected principally from the pa88dges',d£«S^tipln^e^j}- 
ranged by Mr. Henry, in his Method' ot Trayer, and 
from Mr. Bickersteth's Forms of Prayer. The selec- 
tions &om Scripture are expressed as they fttand in 
the sacred word, which may be varied in prayer to the 
case of an individual, or of a social meeting, as the 
occasion requires. 

The following suggestions are submitted to the at- 
tention of the reader. 

1. All aids to devotion are to be considered a» hints 
£» improvement, and not as specific and uoifoiiaro^Mk 


1 • ) 1 1' 


i.\Ai' wAT-rri. D.n. 


■ ■■ 

CD .e 'o « It -i n . 


by whose skill, power, and love, we have every 
Acuity given, and continued to us. Prayer is the 
simplest and plainest expression of dependence, 
and the most obvious way of obtaining help fit)m 
Grod our Creator. He^ce men in all ages and in 
all nations, have in some way offered up prayer. 

2. Prayer is an act of homage jusUy due from ua^ 
to the great Governor of aU, We thereby adore 
him, who only has a right to our adoration. It is a 
special part of that honor and service to which he . 
has every possible claim. He ought to be acknowl- 
edged as the Author and Giver of every good gift. 
Thereby we glorify his wisdom, as knowing all 
things, his power, as able to extricate us from every 
difficulty ; his goodness, as willing to assist us, his 
all-sufficiency, to meet every want ; his mercy, as 
pitying our misery ; and his forbearance, in pardon- 
ing all our sins. In short, what attribute of God 
does not prayer acknowledge and honor, and how 
manifestly does it tend to maintain a constant, and 
lively, and general impression of his supreme excel- 
lence and glory. 

3. God has expressly commanded us to pray to 
km. Our Lord says, ^' Ask, and it shall be given 
you." He declares, " Men ought always to pray, 
and not to faint." St. Paul exhorts, "I will, 
therefore, that men pray every where, lifting up 
holy hands." The great God, then, that made 
heaven' and earth, and before whom you will 
stand in judgment, plainly requires you to worship 


4. The relations hy which God has revealed him- 
self to «», show this duty. He is a Father, and gives 
us the " Spirit of adoption, to cry, Abba, Father." 
Children should go to their father to ask of him a 
supply of their wants, and to tell him all that they 
fbel and enjoy. Jesus Christ is the wav to God ;''a 
Mediator to interpose in our behalf, and a High 
Priest and Intercessor to offer up our supplications '- 
the Holy Spirit also assists our prayers, making 
intercession for us. These relations are specially 
revealed for our use, and are highly important with 
reference to prayer. A -peculiar title, therefore, 
given to Grod is, " O thou that hearest prayer." 

5. There are severe threatenings against those who 
neglect this duty. The Psalmist says, " Pour out thy 
wrath upon the kingdoms that have not called upon 
thy name." Daniel, ix. 13, 14. ascribes the evi' 
that came on the Jews to their neglect of prayer. 
Those were to be cut off, " who turned back from 
the Lord, and those who have not sought the Lord." 
It is the character given of the wicked, " who are 
far from Grod," that tliey " call not upon the Lord ; " 
and of the hypocrite, that " he will not always call 
upon God." He may, perhaps, in a time of trouble, 
seek God's help; but he neglects it as his daily 

6. The duty of prayer may be farther proved 
from ihe practice of holy persons. I need not do 
more than enumerate those of old. Abraham, 
Gren. xviii. 22 — 32 ; xxi. 33. Isaac, Gen. xxiv. 
63. Jacob, Gen. xxxii. 24. 28. Hosea, xii. 3, 4. 
Moses,- Ex. xsndr. 28. Jabez, 1 CVaon, w, Vi, 


David, Ps. Iv. 16, 17. Elijah, James, v. 17. 
Daniel, vi. 10. Paul, Acts, ix. 11; Rom. i. 9; 
Eph. i. 15, 16 ; Phil. i. 3, 4 ; 2 Tim. i. 3. Peter, 
Acts, X. 9. with many otliers: or those holy 
women; Rebecca, Gen. xxv. 22. Hannah, 1 Sam. 
i. 13, 14. Anna, Luke, ii. 38. and others, to show 
that they lived in prayer. And why is their devo- 
. tion j:eeerded ? not for their glory, but as examples 
for us. The man of much prayer resembles those 
Patriarchs of old, who "walked with God," and 
has something of their privileges, to whom God 
manifested himself Ln the flesh, and with whom he 
conversed on earth. Not to dwell on these, let us 
look to our Lord himself, whose example is especial-, 
ly set before us to be followed. Few parts of his 
character are more plainly exhibited, than his con- 
stant regard of this duty. The reader is referred 
to the following passages: Mat. xiv. 23. Mark, i. 
35 ; vi. 46. Luke, v. 16. 26 ; vi. 12 ; xxii. 39^—45. 
Heb. V. 7; vii. 25. 

7. Prayer is also an indispensable mean to be used 
in order to obtain spiritual blessings. The good 
things of this life are given indeed indiscriminately 
to good or bad men : God thus showing how little 
value we ought to set on those things which the 
wicked oAen abundantly possess. But grace and 
pardon, mercy and salvation, are promised express- 
ly to those who pray. Job says, ^ If thou shah 
pray unto God, he shall be favorable unto thee." 
David affirms, " Thou, Lord, art good, and ready 
to forgive, and plenteous in mercy unto all that 
cmV upon thee.''* No excellences can compensate 



for the want of prayer. In fact, it lies at the root 
i»f the real benefit of all the other gifts of €rod to 

But religion is in a low state in the heart of that 
man on whom prayer must be urged as a duty. It 
ought ever to be considered as the greatest of all 
mercies, that we are permitted to pray to €k>d, and 
assured that '* every one that asketh receiveth.'' 
We shall, therefore, in the following section, con- 
sider prayer rather as a privilege than as a duty. 



"The true happiness of every Christian,' says 
Bishop Wilkins, ' properly consists in his spiritual 
communion with God." Prayer is, then, a neces- 
sary part of tbe Christian's happiness, for it brings 
him into the presence of God, and is the most 
direct act of communion with him. 

Every one that prays aright, can adopt David's 
expression, " It is good for me to draw near to 
G^d." It is pleasant, it is honorable, it is advanta* 
geous. If I have riches, they may or may not be 
good for me. If I have human knowledge, power, 
eloquence, talent, and earthly glory, or any of the 
good things of this life, they may or may not be 
good for me : but if I have the grace of prayer, the 
heart to draw near to God, it is un milled, unquali- 
fied good. 


Consider some of (he advantages of prayer. 

1. Prayer is the mean which God has tq^pof 
to obtain every good, and to escape every evU. — I 
pleased him to appoint this mean for various, -■ 
and ho]y pmposes; and especially that we 
acknowledge and glorify his attributes; tha 
may see our dependence on him, and prove 
obedience to him. There is no evil that you 
now suffer, or that you may expect to suffer, w 
prayer is not the appointed mean to allevial 
avert Our Lord declares, ^Ask, and it sha 
given unto you ; seek, and ye shall find ; ki 
and it shall be opened unto you." " Call upoi 
and I will answer thee, and will show thee 
and mighty things which thou knowest not" 

2. We are certain of obtaining what we cu 
faith, according to God*s wUi, — The num< 
promises made to faithful prayer fully confirm 
remark. He *' is able to do exceeding abund 
above all that we can ask or think." You may 
for riches, and lay by money year after year, 
after every care your money may be lost, and 
die poor ; or it may bring you trouble and sor 
mther than any advantage. You may pursue 
pleasures or favor of the world, and live mise 
and die despised. But if you seek the blessin 
God in fervent prayer, you cannot be disappoi 
This has been the testimony of every servai 
God from the beginning. How differently 
reason about earthly and spiritual things! 
great, and faithful, and gracious monarch wei 
promise riches, pleasures, or honors, to those * 


come to him, his court would soon be crowded ; 
men would anxiously ask, ^ what has he promised ? 
how may I go to him?" But Grod himself has 
eomestly invited us to come to him, has promised 
to supply all our wants, and to give us durable 
liches and righteousness. It is the solemn declara- 
tion of Jesus Christ to his disciples, ^ Verily, verily, 
I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall ask the Father 
in my name, he will give it you ; ask, and ye shall 
receive, that your joy may be full." You may not 
indeed, obtain the first time you ask ; the promise 
gives no assurance that you shalL St. Paul had. 
''a thorn in the flesh," and besought the Lord thrice, ' 
or frequently before he was heard. You may not 
obtain the very thing which you ask ; but asking 
aright, you will obtain that which will fully satisfy 
the spiritual mind. St. Paul's thorn in the flesh 
was not removed, but he was enabled to take 
pleasure in his infirmities. No prayers oflered up 
aright will ever be made in vain. 

3. The privilege of prayer was pvrchaaedfor us at 
the eosOy price of the Uoad of Jesus Christ; and there- 
fore we may easily imagine what an inestimable ad- 
vantage it must be, and how excellent is that liberty 
of access to God which was thus obtained. Soub 
now in eternal ruin are not privileged to pray. They 
have irrecoverably lost this good. The fallen angels 

have no way of access to God. Jesus " took not on 
him the nature of angels." Shall we then slight or 
despise the distinguishing privilege of our present 

4. Prajer is a satisfactory mdence o/ our luiicl'ni^ 
f pbietined the saving grace of God, "Beca\xafc^ft axfe 


sons, €rod hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son intc 
our hearts, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." It ii 
the breath of the spiritual life in the soul. ^ What 
ever has life must breathe ; and if the life be strong 
it will breathe fi'eely. If prayer be faint, weak, anc 
disordered, the person is not in full life and heahh 
if there be no prayer, there is no spiritual life at all 
the first mark of it is, " Behold, he prayeth : " an< 
the last account of one is his prayer, " Lord Jesin 
receive my spirit." It is to the spiritual Church th< 
promise belongs — ^'^ I will pour upon the house o 
David, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spiri 
of grace and of supplication." Kyou have a ferveni 
persevering spirit of prayer, you have a sure evidence 
of being bom again ; of the life of God begun u 
your soul. When you can feel with David, " M; 
soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee, ii 
a dry and thirsty land, to see thy power and tb; 
gloiy, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary:' 
then you may also say, with humble yet belieyini 
confidence, " O God, thou art my God." 

5. Prayer gains for us spiritual strength, — ^It li 
that singular duty in which every grace is exercised, 
every sin opposed, every blessing obtained, th* 
whole soul revived, strengthened, and invigorated 
for the Christian race. Just in proportion to your 
prayers, so is your holiness, so is your usefulness; 
The praying Christian is the strong, the thrivinf 
Christian, ** strong in the Lord and in the power o 
bis might." As the naturally weak ivy, which if i 
had no support, would only grovel on the earth, b 
M^eriDg to some neighboxixig tt^, ot building, fai< 



eDtwining itself about it, thus grows and fiouriihes, 
and rises higher and higher; and the more the 
winds blow, and the tempefi|s beat against it, the 
closer it adheres, and the nearer it clings, and the 
isMer its fibnes emln^ce that which supports it, and 
it remains uninjured: just so the Christian, naturally 
wsak, by prayer connects himself with the Al- 
mi|^t^ ; and the more dangers and difficuhias 
beset him, the more closely they unite him to his 
God; he reaches towards, and leans upon, and 
dings to him, and is strengthened with divine 
fltrangth. High is the privilege of prayer, which 
tums our very wante to our advantage, leading us 
by them into a constant intercourse with God, and 
kee^pmg us in a spiritual and heavenly state of 

6b By prayer toe obtain true peace of mind, that 
peace to which those who never pray are utter 
stFsngers. — ^This peace is a calm and entire resting 
upon God for the supply of every necessity, of body 
and soul, for time and for eternity. It is casting all 
our burden, whatever it be, upon a kind, compas* 
flionale, Almighty^ friend, who willingly sustains it, 
ttid relieves and comforts us. ^ Casting all your 
care on him, for he careth for you." Let the 
Ghrnttian^XolloWvthe iqpostle's direction, ^ Be carefid 
fyg nothing ; but in every thing, by prayer and sup- 
piication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be 
made known unto Grod," and he may fully expect 
the effect which that apostle describefr-<^*and the 
peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall 
keq» your hearts and inindfl^ through ClunaX ^ovoftT 


How calm and composed may he be, amid all tl 
storms and distractions of this world, who has dai 
and hourly conununion with the Creator, Ruk 
and Preserver of all things! The Christian & 
below his true happiness in this life, if he does n 
enjoy constant peace of mind. ^ Thou wilt ke( 
him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on the 
because he trusteth in thee." 

7. Prayer is especially advantageous in the time 
trovhle, — Even those who neglect God altogeth 
at other times, are often then compelled to app 
to hiin, and even in such a case he has heard ai 
accepted them. But with a peculiarly filial con 
dence may those approach to him, when they a 
in trouble, whose habit of mind, whose continu 
practice, whose whole life, is a drawing near 
God. The command and the promise belong 
them, "Call upon me in the day of trouble, I w 
deliver thee, and thou shale glorify me." Indee 
what Christian has not found in his own expei 
ence, the truth of the declaration, " God is 01 
refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble 
When no other ear could hear but his, no oth< 
arm save, no other power relieve or help ; when n 
were destitute and almost in despair, then his ei 
heard, and through his mercy we were deliv^ie 
Prayer, like the precious metal, comes most piu 
from the heated furnace. Are you depressed ui 
der your guilt, your weakness, your ignorance^ i 
your ingratitude ? You may spread your cBstresSy 1 
Hezekiah did his letter, before God, and you nee 
MNfi ^ar hut that God will help you: and^hat 


comfort it is that we can never come unseasonably 
to him. A great man, or a friend, may be so cir- 
eomstanced that we cannot interrupt him; or he 
will soon be wearied by repeated application ; or 
he may be so distant that we cannot gain access to 
him. But our God is very nigh unto us — ^he is al- 
ways with us ; "a. very present help in trouble." 
Other friends, if willing, may not be able to help 
us — but he has both the will and the power to give 
die greatest blessings. **Even our guilt, when 
confessed, becomes a plea for relief; and the worst 
condition becomes the strongest reason to pray — all 
that is given, being given, not for our merits, but 
for Christ's sake." The followkig affecting anec- 
dote is related us of a poor colored woman. She 
was a poor slave in the West Indies, and was for- 
bidden by her master to attend public worship, and 
threatened with severe punishment if she did. 
The only reply she made, was, "I must tell the 
Lord that ; " a reply that so affected her owner, that 
he no longer refused her liberty to go. What a 
vi^w does this give us of the blessedness of prayer, 
that a poor and friendless outcast may thereby ob- 
tain the aid of the great Governor of the universe. 
8. In prayer we eti/oy the presence of GocL — 
''Draw nigh to God,' says St James, 'and he will 
draw nigh to you." The devout soul, having found 
in the solitude of the closet the presence of God, is 
glad to^with'draw itself from the distraction of the 
world, and retire to hold converse with him in se- 
oet. ** As the hart panteth after the water brookit, 
80 papliBtb jDjfioui after thee, O God* Y^Yi<^ti^D3^ 


I eome aad appear before Grod?" The Saviour 
assured his disciples, ^ He that lo^^th me shaiD bo 
loved of fmy Father, and I will lov& him, and will 
manifest myself to him." There is an experience, 
therefore, of this presence, into which those only who 
love Christ can enter. Jeremiah seems to feel die 
loss of it, when in so affecting a way, he exclaims, 
" O thou hope of Israel, thou Saviour thereof in the 
time of trouble, why shouldst thou be as a stranger 
in the land, and as a wayfaring man that tumeth 
aside to tarry for a night ? " 

9. Prayer prepares us for the enjoyment of God 
hereqfter. — He who has had this heavenly inter- 
course on earth, And has here been able to say, 
"truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his 
Son Jesus Christ," is prepar^ to enter into the bliss- 
fiil society above. God is not a stranger to him ; he 
has long known him : his Saviour is his tried and 
ccmstant fnend. And just as a man who has been 
continually experiencing the bounty and goodneai 
of a fnend whom he has never seen, will rejoice in 
beholding his face, so will it be to the devout be- 
liever. He will enter heaven with the conviction, 
" In thy presence is fulness of joy, and at thy right 
hand are pleasures for evermore." 

The devout believer, then, is the only trvly happy 
man. What a delightful life does he live, whose 
prayers afford him constant communion with Qod I 
No fears and anxieties about Aiture things ^feed die- 
tract him, nor present difficulties and burdens weigh ' 
him down. He may calmly, steadily, and cheerfully 
thnuf^ all the varietiee of this Ufe^ living in 


e most exalted and yet endearing fiiendship with 
8 Maker, having a constant support, and a hidden 
It sotid joy from intercourse with him, possessing 
I ample resource in eveiy circumstance here be- 
w, and an assured expectation of everlasting 
)iei^ with Wm at whose right hand ^ there are 
leasures for evermore." Let the happiness of the 
fb of devotion induce you diligently to seek divine 
race, to enable you to say with David, ^ I give 
lyself unto prayer." 



. Some who neglect prayer, say, ^ God knows 
Jud I want without my asking, and he is too 
rise and too good to need my information in order 
} relieve me." This should "be an argument to 
lise your faith and hope, and not to hinder your 
layers. God is indeed wise, infinitely wise ; and, 
ein^ so wise, he has in his word directed you to 
lake known your wants to him by prayer. His 
nowledge is one reason why you ihotdd pmy to 
im, an^ his goodness another, why you may con- 
dently apply to him. Will you .pretend to be 
riser than he id ? Whatever his destira mjxy be in 
, your duty is clear — to obey his wih. He knovra 
rhen you will die, and mi ,ht support you without 
x>d, and yet you daily eat Remember that ** it 
lay be agreeable to perfect wisdom, to grant that 
> our prayers which it would not have been agree- 
ble to the same wisdom to have pven \ia mxld^xix 


praying for." What if prayer be his plan for ma- 
king you humble, dependent, devout, believing, and 
thankful ? In short, for impressing you with a sense 
and feeling of your wants, and for bringing you to 
a proper state of mind to receive his blessing ? But 
whatever his design may be, it is your highest wis- 
dom and interest to follow his directions. 

2. A similar objection is, that God is unchcmgt' 
able, and prayer wUl not alter^ nor reverse his purr 
poses. — We do not say that prayer really changes 
the purpose of God, though it may be sometimes so 
expressed in condescension to our infirmities: but 
we say his course of dealing is quite difierent with 
those who pray, and those who do not. We may 
think, indeed, that we aro, drawing God nearer to 
us, when we in truth draw nearer to him, as a per- 
son with a boat-hook which he fixes to the shore is 
ready to think when he draws the boat, that he 
is moving the land towards him, when in fact 
he himself is coming nearer the land. But you 
quite mistake the true design of this perfection cf 
God, if you think it should keep you from praying. 
The unchangeableness of God, so far from being 
an argument against prayer, iSithe reason why you 
should pray, and secure to yourself the fulfilment 
of his promises. 

You cannot tell what the secret purposes of Qod 
are ; but you know that God has appointed pray^ 
as the means of obtaining good and av^ling evil 
If you neglect the means which he has directed yoii 
to use, you have no reason to expect the MeariDig 
which you desire : but if you are induced by lui 
grace to uBe the means, it is «l 


Bra fikely to obtain the desired end. Remember^ 
then, that though there be ^no Tariableness nor 
flbedow of tummg" with him, yet the means are 
ordained as well as the effect, and pray to gun that 
which God ordains to be obtained by prayer. Je- 
sus Christ himself prayed, and commanded you to 
pray; and an excuse drawn from the unchange- 
ableness of God will never avail you in answer to 
a plun command, sanctioned by such an example, 
and especially when there are such great and evi- 
detit advantages in obtaining your desires through 

3. Others eay, I ccmnot pray. — The greatest ob- 
stacle is not want of ability, but want of wilL I 
know that the poor often say, I have no learn- 
ing, and therefore cannot pray. And some are 
ignorant enough to suppose that only ministers of 
religion need pray. Had you no personal wants, 
then indeed you might more plausibly thus reason. 
But prayer must be the act of your own mind, of 
yourself individually. God requires you to pray. 
The jM^yer of your minister, your relatives and 
fiiends, does not make your own prayer unnecessa- 
ly. Their prayers may be of use in obtaining for 
you grace to seek God more earnestly ; but you 
cannot expect to obtain his mercy and blessing 
nnlefljB you yourself unfeignedly apply to the throne 
of grace. And as to ability to pray, it is a deep 
'sense of your necessities that fonns the great quaB- 
HcBldmi f[>r real prayer. Hence all persons, hi^ 
and loWf learned and unlearned,* are by nature on a 
lenA m dtkf reepect A beggar fbeHng 1[ub 'pcrv^csi^ 
ibBM/ wMctedneoB, does not want learmng to VjUfcYk 


him how to come to aak your ahD& He amply 
tells you his distress, points to his tattered garment^ 
or his pallid or diseased body, and thus most effod- 
ually makes his way to your heart. And so, though 
you cannot read, you may still pray to God, and be 
accepted by him. 

4 It is not an uncommon objection, I am too 
much occupied to pray, — Prayer is very proper finr 
those who have time, but I am so full of other 
engagements that I cannot attend to it — ^You surely 
do not mean to say so ! Time ! cannot get time ! 
How do you employ your time? Is none of it 
wasted in sinful pleasures or pursuits? Do yon 
never find leisure to talk about your children^ 
or friends' good qualities? Do you never find 
opportunity to thank men for earthly fiivors ? and 
have you not time to acknowledge God's goodneasy 
of which your lives are full ? If you are afflicted, 
can you . not find time to unbosom yourself to a 
friend, who yet perhaps can afibrd you no efiectual 
help ; and should you not tell your cares and sor- 
rows to God, your best firiend, who can deliver you 
fh>m all your troubles ? But you forget that dew^ 
tion itself is the most important part of your 
business, the greatest woik of your life. You hsve 
more to do With God than. with the whole world* 
Prayer wiU obtain God's blessing on all you do. It 
win prepare you fi>r a hi^py eternity. You aM 
* not lavishing away your time or misemployiikg it 
by prayer. It was a saying of Dr. Doone^ ''tlias 
the oidy time he saved, or employed to the beit 
. /Kiipose^ he spent in piety and i^csf errand in doinf 
good.^ I answer your plea q€ VosDaeaiXii ^^la 


experience, of a devout man, who said, ** when I 
hare hastened over the duties of GodVi worship, out 
of a too e^iger desire to follow my worldly business, 
I did many times meet with some secret cross in 
niy af&iis; whereas when I took my ordinary time, 
God did make my other business to succeed the 
better, or else my mind was brought to a quiet 
aubmJHHion to the divine wilL" No business in the 
woirid brings such unspeakable gain as private 
prayer does. He that prays well will do all well 
besides. What are you laboring for? the good 
tilings of this life ? Remember, then, that devotion 
^procures wealth, inestimably precious, pleasure 
infinitely satis&ctory, honor incomparably noble 
above all that this world can afford." Look at 
David, Daniel, and St Paul, men the most constant 
in devotion, and yet incessantly engaged, and mani- 
festly blessed, in their several stations. 

5. Another man will tell us, I find no benefit Jrom 
pnyer^ — ^I have prayed, and seem no better for it ; 
nay, rather wor8e.r-*If you feel more of your guilt 
and anfulness, that of itself is an advantage, and 
should bring you more to the Saviour. This is a 
vain excuse. Shall the minister give up preaching 
because his congregation ^leem to receive no imme- 
diate benefit ? Shall the husbandman, because the 
seed just sown in one part of the field has not 
directly sprung up, not sow the remainder of the 
field ? Let this objection lead you not to neglect 
your prayen, but to examine their character. We 
know that true prayer is attended with the greatest 
benefitu One devout peraon would aome^m»a «k^ 


to her fiiends, ^ I would not be hired out of aj 
closet for a thousand worlds." 

6b Some venture to say, ** I am too wicked lo 
pray. — ^The sacrifices of the wicked are an abomi- 
nation to the Lord/' Is it my duty to pray while 
lihregenerate ? But he who thinks that he shall get 
rid of the duty of prayer on account of his wicked- 
ness, does not only confess, but aggravate hia guilt 
and &s condemnation. You must not, indeed, come 
with the same wicked mind with which yo^ covor 
mitted your sins ; but .go grieved and penitent; and 
the sooner you go the better. " The ploughing of 
the wicked," all they do, " is sin : " and yet even a 
worldly man would not therefore justify them in 
being idle. Your neglect of prayer is perhaps the 
very cause of your wickedness. 

When God had promised the new heart and the 
new spirit to the Jews, he adds, " I will yet for thk 
be inquired of by the house of Israel to do it for 
them." Who more wicked than Simon Magus? 
and yet the apostle calls on him to repent and pray 
to God. Your guilt should bring you to the Sav- 
iour, and not keep you from him. Will not the 
sick man desire .to see the physician ? Is keeping 
at a distance, and contemptuous and negligent 
conduct in an offender as hkely to gain the favor 
of him that is offended, as a humble and medk 
confession of fault, and entreaty for pardon ? All 
the practice and conduct of man, all your own 
experience, all the confessions of sin, and all the 
petitions for mercy which are recorded in the BiUe^ 
ieeitity against such an idea. If ^qut confbanoii of 


^arkkedneaa be the real feeling of your heart, you 
see it is the very reason that you should immediate- 
ly be^ to meditate on your sad condition, to 
r^)eDt, and seek €k>d^8 mercy in prayer. But if it 
be not the feeling of your heart, this excuse for 
ueglecting prayer needs no answer. 

7, There are others who seem to think that all 
exhortations to prayer savor of legality. We are to 
be saved by believing, and not by working. But 
how gross is the mistake of such. We press it not 
m a mere task, or a meritorious labor, but as a plain 
duty. We state it to be a privilege and a blessing 
bestowed on all the children of God. We are not, 
it is true, saved by our prayers, but by Christ ; yet 
we shall never be saved without prayer, for the 
sfnrit of prayer is a part of our salvation. Living 
in neglect of prayer, is a plain proof, whatever 
men's notions or fancies may be, whatever their 
doctrinal sentiments are, that they have none of the 
Spirit of adoption, and so do not belong to Christ. 
Nay, a disregard of prayer shows that you have 
none of the real feelings of evangelical truth, which, 
working by love, ever influences the soul to seek 
the presence of Him we love. 

Is there not at the bottom of all these objections, 
a reason of this kind, I dislike prayer — It puts a re- 
straint upon all my ways — It compels me to think 
of that which I had rather forget ? — ^But what are 
you thus owning yourself to be ?. It is the character 
of the wicked, " God is not in all his thought ;" they 
dislike to <' retain God in their knowledge.'' Ah ! 
femember, aH B&ah must come before Oo^\\v^ 


now sits on a throne of grace, where you may ob- 
tain mercy; he will hereafter sit on a throne of 
Hfc^dgment where he will forever condemn those 
^ho have not sought and found ^ grace to help in 
time of need." 



There are some things in which secret prayer has an 
advantage over social and public worship. By pray- 
ing in secret we give Grod the glory of his being ev- 
ery where present, and seeing and knowing all 
things. We acknowledge not only his general provi- 
dence, as taking care of communities ; but his par- 
ticular providence, as watching over us individu- 
ally. We express our faith in his presence, his 
power, and his love. 

The Christian can also in secret give free vent 
to every desire ; varyliis request according to the 
present state of his mind, or the present neces- 
sities of the day or hour in which he is Uving; he 
can dwell on his personal wants ; and in short, give 
full scope to his feelings, and pour out his whole 
soul before God, with a fi-eedom that he would not 
before his dearest friend. 

Prayer in secret is also considered by our Lord 
as forming a line of distinction between the Chris- 
tian and the mere professor. ^ When thou pisyest 
thou shalt not be as the hypocrites, for they love to 
pmy standing in the synagogues, and in the coir* 
nera oftbeBtreetBf that they may \m «^\i ^ xoool? 


When we are constBDt in secret prayer, not as an 
act of self-rigfateousnesB, but from a feeling of ne* 
ceanty, and of its being both our duty and privilege^ 
we ma^ hope well of our sincerity, and of the gene* 
ral state of our souls before God. 

The retirement of private devoticol is strongly in- 
culcated in the expression, *^ Enter into thy closet" 
Retire from company. Gro by thyself. Be alone. 
Retire from the notice of others, to avoid ostenta- 
tion on the one l^d, and distraction on the other. 
<* Shut thy door." V^eep out the world, and pre- 
vexkt every intrusion: thou hast a great business to 
tnmsact with thy God, and let not the dearest friend 
or relative interfere with thy intercourse and con- 
verse with him. The privacy of prayer is the great 
thing which is here enforced. Poor persons who 
have but one apartment, may enter into the spirit of 
this direction by praying wherever they can be re- 
tired. Isaac's closet was a field. ^ He went out to 
meditate in the field at even-tide." David's closet 
was his bed-chamber. ** Commune with your own 
heart upon your bed, and be still." Our Lord's 
closet was a mountain. *^ When he had sent the 
multitude bway, he went up into a mountain apart 
to pray, and when the evening was come, he was 
there alone." Peter^3 closet was the house top. 
Teter went upon the house top to pray, about the 
-Bizdi hour." Hezekiah's closet was turning '^his 
ftce towards the wall, and prajring unto the Lord." 

But there is a retiredness of heart, and a self-re- 
eoUection, which is of greater importance than any 
•ptahaeuiar place of prayetf Xhis is the frvatot^i^ 


Holy Spirit ; let us then continually look for and 
solely depend on his aid,, which alone can enaUe us 
to give our whole hearts to this great work. 

The Scriptures do not give express directions 
how often we ought to pray, farther than by gen- 
eral intimations, and the examples of others. We 
ought always to be in the spirit of prayer. But 
stated seasons for retired prayer, ought, at least, to 
be twice every day. David says, " It is a good thing 
to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises 
unto thy name, O Most High : to show forth thy lov- 
ing kindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness eve- 
ry night. Morning and evening devotions, then, eve- 
ry day, should never be omitted; and, speaking gen- 
ei»lly, unless you are prevented by circumstances 
out of your control, they cannot be neglected with- 
out much damage to your soul. Prayer has been 
compared to a key, that in the morning opens the 
treasury of Grod's mercies ; and in 'the evening shuts 
us up under his protection and safeguard. It has 
ever been found, that as we have sought God in 
spirit and in truth in th^ morning, so the rest of the 
day has prospered. 

The habit of early rising is of great importance 
to the due discharge of morning prayer. O how 
many precious hours do indolent Christians lose ; 
while those who are more self-denying and diligent, 
are gaining the favor of God and enjoying com- 
munion with him. 

Our first waking thoughts should be directed to- 
wards God; copying David's example, who saya^ 
^ when I awake I am still with thee." I would ad« 



vise you to be kmgeet in your moniing deirotionB^ 
whMi year spirits are lively and vigorous, and un- 
disturbed by the events of the day ; in the evening, 
when you are tired and spent with its labors, be 
shorter, and endeavor to attend to this duty some- 
time before you retire to rest. 

The Rev. Mr. Simeon remarks, ^ It is too gene- 
rally found, that many, instead of transacting thdr 
business vnth God while their faculties are alive, 
stay till exhausted nature is become incapable of 
any energetic exertion, and then huny over some 
fonn of prayer, as a school boy does his task, with- 
out foeling one word they utter. Even this is too 
favorable a representation of the prayers of some 
others, who stay till they have lain down upon their 
bed, and then fall asleep in the midst of their devo- 
tions. As for praying in the morning, they have no 
time for that; the concerns of the past or pres- 
ent day have pre-occupied their minds ; and if they 
offer two or three cold petitions while they are 
dresnng, or before they leave their room, they think 
this quite sufficient." 

Regular devotional exercises, twice every day, in 
secret, are insisted on as a plain duty. More than 
I this is strongly recommended. Christians in gen- 
eral would find, what many do find in their own 
practice, a great advantage in obtaining a few lei- 
sure moments for retired and stated prayer in the 
middle of the day. The word of God gives us en- 
couraging examples of those who have done so. 
'< Evening, morning, and at noon-day, will I pray 
and C17 eHoud, and be shall hear my voice.^ Dism^ 



in a time of great danger, his windows being open- 
ed in his chamber, <* kneeled upon his knees thrae 
times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before hii 
God as he aforetime did." Here was the seciel 
spring of the eminency of these holy men. Tbej 
were much in prayer. Besides, men's thou|^ilB 
and affections will necessarily be most TigoiouB 
and lively about those things in which they are in- 
cessantiy employed, and they are able to do that 
best which they do most frequently. 
The benefits of private prayer are numerous. 

1. Intercourse with Grod in secret prayer, hoM a 
ftasMfonming ^jvccuy. When Moses had been with 
God in the mount, the skin of his face i^one. 
Something of that glory which had been then man- 
ifested to him remained with him. And thus tiie 
Christian often comes from his closet, with some of 
the beams of heavenly light and glory, shining as it 
vrere in his countenance. Coming into the wcH*ld 
is sometimes to him like coming back into a lower 
sphere, into a new society. He has been holding 
converse with the unseen world, and he returns in- 
vigorated and refreshed for every duty. 

2. This blessed employment in secret, raiam tike 
Chriatian above anxiety about temporal ikingim A 
holy intercourse with his Maker gives him a fixod^ 
ness and serenity which nothing else can bestow, 
and hardly any thing can discompose. It prepares 
him for all events, and fills Inm with a noMe eon- 
tempt for all the emfui pleasures and pursuitB of a 
worid Ijring in wickedness. 

Si The devout Chrisdan, pnying in secret 


wait 01^ die L(»d ahall renew their strengtii, Tb^ 
diall mount up with wings ap eagies, they ghaU run 
and not be weary, and they shall walk and not 
fiunt" Sins with which the indolent and carekts 
Christian is contending to his life's end, soon yield 
to eoDtinued fervent prayer. 

It was the daily practice of the eminent physician 
Boerfaaave, through his whole life, as soon as he 
1006 in the morning, which was generally yery 
early, to retire for an hour to private prayer, and 
meditation on some part of the scriptures. He 
often told his fiiends, when they asked him how it 
was posable for him to go through so much fatigue 
with such patience and quietness, that it was this 
which gave him spirit, and vigor in the business of 
the day. v This he therefore recommended as the 
best rule which he could give* 

4. Private prayer is an engine of greater pctotr 
(tot aU kuman means put together. The greatest of 
earthly mbnarchs, neglecting prayer, has not that 
power to glorify God, benefit man, and secure his 
own. hi^piness, which the humble and praying^ 
(3unian has. The prayer of a poor, destitute, and 
afflicted Christian, in the name of Christ, may turn 
the heartB«|of kings and princes, save his country, 
nuse up pious ministers, secure a blessing to theii 
bbon, send the gospel to the heathen, and advance 
the kingdom of Christ in the world. 

8. M nuxkea us Jruii/hU in every good toork, ^ I 
teckon it,' says Bennet, 'matter of common experi- 
enee among good men, that they find tbemselvea 
moie oar less, dispose^ and fit for th<^T les^cs^'^^ 
daties and aervicef according aa thesx d2^l^|js&Ai^ 


constancy, and seriousness in secret prayer 16 more 
or less." Christians, if you wish to proi^r, if you 
long to bring forth all the fruit of the Spirit, strike 
your roots deep and wide in private prayer. 

Mr. Scott says, " Depend upon it, every thing will , 
prosper in the event, in a very near proportion lo 
our earnestness and perseverance in prayer: but 
negligence here will be followed by a declencdoD, 
perhaps almost unperceived in all other respects, 
and will make way for temptations, falls, corrections, 
darkness, and inward distresses. If, like Jacob, we 
wrestle with God and prevail, we shall eventually 
prevail in all our other conflicts." 

6. M toill be rewarded openly, — Our Lord does 
not in these words promise the very thing which 
you request ; but your Father will reward you ; he 
vnll give you a free, a full return, a gracious retriba- 
tion, evidently, though not perhaps identically. — 
Every tear of godly sorrow, shed in secret, will then 
be a brilliant gem in the crown of glory surround- 
ing the brow of the Christian. The Christian's 
'reward comes from a Father of infinite power, 
riches, wisdom, and love ; and therefore cannot be a 
small reward, or an unsatisfying portion. May eveiy 
reader then be encouraged to begin, or more con- 
stantly to practise, and persevere in this sacred duQr* 




Maivt are the advantages, and great js the nnnfMMJij 
of private prayer ; but public worship is also a ikt^ 
pkm and important 


1. The assembiing qfoursdves togdher ii rtquirtd 
m (he scrtpturu of aU Christians. The apostle 
exhorts us to it as a great means of strengthening 
our love to God and man ; '* Let us consider one 
another to provoke unto love and good works, not 
forsaking the assembling of ourselves together as 
the manner of some is." The invitation runs, ^ O 
come, let us worship and bow down : let us kneel be- 
fore the Lord our Maker." " Come into his courts ; 
O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness." 

2. Public worship is a suUahle and proper expres- 
sion of homage to our Creator. " In him we live, 
and move, and have our being ;" and it is just and 
right that we should publicly and unitedly *^ give 
unto the Lord the glory due unto his name." We 
all depend on him, and it is right that we should 
join in acknowledging this, and praying to him. 
We have in common sinned against him, and right 
it is that we should in common confess our sins 
before him. 

S. It is alsoTa piiblic testimony and profession of 
our religion. 'We hereby show "whose we are, 
and whom we serve." The religion of a nation is 
known by its worship. "All people walk every 
one in the name of his Grod, and we will walk in 
the name of the £!ord our Grod forever." 

4. Public worship is attended with some peculiar 
advantages. The constant return of theiweekiy Sab- 
bath, and its worship, keeps alive those impressions 
of leligion which the cares, and buoness, and cEb- 
liietiOiiB of this wcMid would wear away« Our 
BftvicNir makes m ipeckl praniae applkalci^ lo't^ 


sajringy ^ Where two or three are gathered togedier 
in my name, there am 1 in the midst of them.'* ** I 
will praise the Lord with my whole heart,** aayn 
David, ^ in the congregation of the fiiithfbL'* — 
Earth affords not a more impressive, afiecting, 
and solemn sight, than that of a whole congrega- 
tion uniting in acts of prayer and praise to die 
great Lord of alL In such a scene, also, the Chris- 
tian peculiarly enjoys the privilege of the com- 
munion of saints. 

5. But pubUc worship is apnoUtge as weU as a 
duty, — To the Christian it is not a burdensome task, 
but a delightful employment, under the influences 
of the Holy Spirit, to join his fellow Christians in 
prayer and praise. Observe how David speak»^- 
'^One thing have I desired of the Lord, and that 
will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of 
the Lord all the days of my Ufe, to behold the beau- 
ty of the Lord, and to inquire in lus temple." 
^How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of 
hosts ; my soul longeth, yea, even fainteth, for the 
courts of the Lord ; my heart and my flesh crieth 
out for the living God." Hence the Sabbath is to 
the Christian a happy day. He looks forward to it 
with pleasure. He regrets its departure. 



THsme are some veiy in^portant means of graoe, 
and outward observances, which are plainly im- 
plied in the word of God^ lor the performance of 


which we have few, if any, positive, plain, and 
expresB precepts. We are lefl to gather them from 
the examples of holy men, and from various inci- 
dental circumstances. Such, in some degree, is the 
duty of fiunily worship. 

It wiU not, however, be difficult to prove the 
oUigaUon to fiimily worship in various ways. 

1. Wt are taught this duty ly scriptural exam- 
ples. Consider (he example of Abrahamy the father 
of the fidthful, and the friend of God. His family 
piety is that for which he is blessed by Jehovah 
himself: "^ I know Abraham, that he will command 
his children, and his household after him, and they 
shall keep the way of the Lord to do justice and 
judgment, that the Lord may bring upon Abraham 
that which he hath spoken of him." 

Consider the holy determination of Joshua, who 
declared to all Israel, ^ Choose ye this day whom 
ye will serve ; as for me and my house, we will 
serve the Lord." 

When David had brought the ark of God into 
Jerusalem vnth gladness, sacrifices, and thanksgiv- 
ings, after discharging all his pubUc duties, and 
Uessing the people in the name of the Lord of 
hosts, ^ he returned to bless %is household." 

Observe the praise given to Cornelius; he vras 
«a devout man, and one that feared Gk)d, with all 
his house ; which gave much alms to the people, 
and prayed to God always." The early Chrisdans 
practise^ this duty. St Paul greets the church in 
the houM of FriiciDa and Aquila, when they were 


at Rome, and sends the salutation of the Chureh 
that was in their house when they were in Ana. 

2. !r/b*ea<entrig9arejprDn(mnce(f c^truttfbMt^ 
disregard Hds duty. Those who neglect the wor- 
ship of Gk>d in ' their families, lie, (awful thought !) 
under the displeasure of the Almighty, under the 
firown of the Most High. Observe ^what is said, 
*'Pour out thy fury upon the heathen that know 
thee not, and upon the families that call not up<m 
thy name," 

3. Family prayer has also some peculiar advan- 
tages. It is a most important means of propagaHng 
piety to posterity. Children are creatures of imita- 
tion. They love to copy all that they see in others. 
The characters of unborn generations may depend 
on your conduct in this matter. 

4. Family worship when duly conducted is at- 
tended with many happy effects on your whole /amUy, 
No wonder that those who neglect this, are contin- 
ually troubled with the misconduct and perverse- 
ness of those under them and about them ; no 
wonder that jarrings, dissensions, and other disa- 
greeable circunvstances, are continually disquieting 
them. It is just what might be expected. How 
can they who neglect the worship of God in tbar 
femiUes look for peace or comfbrt in them? We 
may confidentiiy appeal to thosewho have regdlar 
and daily fiunily prayer, that, when conducted in 
a ample [and devout spirit, it has a tendency to 
remove, or aUay, aU diose unhappy passions to 
which our common nature is subject, and vduch, 

more or lesBf appear in every &ix&ly. 


5w Family prayer gains for us tiie presence and 
Ue89ing of our l/mrd. There ft a promise of his 
presence, which appears peculiarly applicable to 
this duty. Many have found in fiunily worship, 
that help and that communion with God, which 
they had sought fox with less effect in private 

Dr. Buchanan strikingly contrasts a famUy wfyich 
tocTships God and a family which worships him not ; 
and the excellence of the remarks will justify the 
length of the quotation. ^ How painful it is to re- 
flect,' he says, ' that there should be in this king- 
dom, many domestic societies among whom the 
worship of the Deity is not known, m whose 
houses no grateful accents are ever heard, no exult- 
ation of heart for the divine goodness. There are, 
indeed, accents of exultation and mirth ; * and the 
harp, and the viol, and the tabret, and the pipe, are 
in their feasts;' but there is no remembrance of 
God : ' they regard not the operation of his hands.' 
While even inanimate nature, in a certain sense 
offereth, praise to the great Creator, and fulfilleth 
his will ; these men pass through life in silence ! 
Insensible to the mercies, or judgments, or power, 
or providence, of the unseen Grod; yes, more insen- 
siUe than the inhabitants of heathen lands^ upon 
whom the light of truth h^ never shined. 

^ How different is the scene which is presented 
in ^ose happy famiUes where the voice of prayer 
and thanksgiving consecrates every day! where the 
word of God is devoutly read, and the in&nts are 
taught to lisp their Creator's praise. Thfic«> traoi 
dajr to dBjr, domestic peace, and love, «a:id Yvssutfsces ^ 


are cherished by the sublhnest motives, and^ 
strengthened by the tenderest and most powetfUl 
sanctions. On the hallowed day they repaur, with 
gladness of heart, to their respective places of 
worship, and mingle with assemblies which meet 
vnth much more delight for praise and prayer, than 
other assemblies for worldly mirth. And let not 
the world contemn, or disturb their holy exercise : 
for we learn from scripture, that it is from mich 
ftmilies and assemblies, who are 'the salt of the 
earth,' worshipping in the midst of us, that the in- 
cense of prayer ascends in behalf of the country, and 
is accepted in heavenly places through tlie inter- 
cession of the Mediator." % 



The term *< social " may be applied to all kinds of 
prayer in which we join with others, but it is here 
restricted to the united prayer of Christian friends, 
distinct from public and family Worship. It would 
be well if Christians were more accustomed than 
they are to sanctify their occasional meetings by 
prayer, and to meet also for the purpose of uniting 
in prayer to obtain those blessings which they need. 
The particular promise given to united prayer has 
led many to practise this both as a privilege and as 
a duty. '^If two of you shall agree on earth aa 
touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be 
dcme for them of my Father which is in heaven.** 
We have scriptural examples to encourage us 
to the performance of this. Waeu IJeJOet N«%a Vbl 


prison, ^ prayer wan made without ceasing of tiie 
dnir^ onto God for him ; ^ and when he came to 
the hoHse a£ Mary, the mother of John, he fonnd 
there ** many that were gathered tjogether, praying.^ 
When Paul and Silas were thrown into prison, 
th^ comdforted each other by social'prayer. ^ Paul 
and Silas prayed and sang praises unto God: and 
the prisoners heard tbem.^ *^ When Moses' hands 
were heavy, Aaron and ilur stayed up his hands^ 
the one on the one side and the other on the other 
side, and his hands were steady until the going 
down of the sun.'' Bishop Hall remarks on this, 
** Doubtless Aaron and Hur did not only raise their 
handr but their minds with his ; the more cords 
the eaaer draught Aaron was brother to Moses. 
There cannot be a more brotheriy office than to 
help one another in our prayers, and to excite our 
mutual devotions. No Christian may think it 
enough to pray alone : he is no true Israelite that 
will net be ready to lift up the weary hand of Gk)d's 

Aikd as social prayer is a duty binding generally 
on all Christians, so there is a special reason for it 
in some particular relations. Husband and wife 
should pray together, with and for each other ; the 
apostle appears to suppose they do so, when he 
adds, as a reason for some directions given to them, 
**diat your prayers be not hindered." 

St Paul hoped for deliverance from his difficul- 
ties by the Corinthians, "hewing together by 
prayer" for him, and this "supposes that Christians 
will unite in prayer for their minister. BAmemb^i 
diea your minister in your social ineet^|5a)\X.N<r^ 


bring a bleaaing on him and yourselves also. Why 
should not those members of a family who are 
under the Aill influence of real religion unite, at 
stated p^ods, in praying for those of their relatires 
that are careless and regardles of its holy truths ? 

It is a proof of the low state of religion when 
even real Christians can meet and part without 
praying together. Is it feared that this might be 
counted strange and uncommon ? this is a weak 
objection. The devoted Christian is an unconunon 
character, and must exi)ect to be olften reproached 
for unnecessary strictness and preciseness.^ Have 
you reason to think that this would be an unwel- 
come service ? surely, then, you should not volun- 
tarily be much in the society of those who would 
think it such. Or may not another reason be, that 
the conversation, even among those who have 
professed to renounce the world and its vanities, is 
often so trifling, so worldly, and so vain — so much 
about man, and so little about God, and Christ, and 
his word, and his love, that your souls are unpre- 
pared and unfitted for communion with him. 

Were your social meetings thus sanctified, the 
occasional intercourse of dear fiiends would be 
more blessed than it is. You would find it a means 
of grace, and would enjoy, in a miich higher degree, 
the privilege of the communion of saints. You 
would find the prayers of those who can and do 
pray with fireedom and fervency, a great help to 
^our own attainment of this gift Those who have 
the holy fire may be the means of enkindling the 
Mcred flame in others. 





The daty of prajer is so great and necessary a part of 
religion, that every degree of assistance toward the 
discharge of it, will be always acceptable to pious 
minds. The inward and spiritual performance of this 
worship is taught ns in many excellent discourses ; but 
a regular scheme of prayer, as a Christian exercise, 
or a piece of holy skill, has been much neglected. 
The form, method, and expression, together with 
other attendants of it, such as voice and gesture, have 
been so little treated of, that few Christians have any 
dear or distinct knowledge of them : apd yet all these 
have too powerful an influence upon the soul in its most 
spiritual exercises ; and they properly fall under va- 
rious directions of nature and sdripture. Now, while 
mttitiUwns of Logio and Rhetoric abound, that teach 
08 to reason aright, and to speak well among men, 
why should the ndea of speaking to God be so much 

It is a glory to our profession, that there is a great 
ttomber of mxnistexB in our day and nation, who are 
hsppy in tiie gift of pnyer, and exercise it continually 
in tn honorable and nsefhl manner. Yet they have 
been oootented to direct others to th!ia tftXa^mv*" 


merelj by the influence of a good example. Thne, s(^ 
are taught to praji as some profess to teach French 
and Latin ; i* e. only by rote; whereas, those that leam 
by rule, as well as by imitation /acquire a greater readi* 
ness of just and proper expression in speaking tbotfs 
languages upon every occasion. 

I am persuaded that one reason of this neglect has 
been, the angry zeal for parties among us, which has 
discouraged men of sober and moderate principles from 

' attempting much on this subject, while the zealots 
have been betrayed into two extremes. Some contend 
earnestly for pre-composed set forms of prayer, and will ' 
worship no other way. These have little need of any 
other instructions but to be taught to read well, since 
the words, matter, and method of their prayers are al- 
ready appointed. Other violent men, in extreme o^ 
position to them, have indulged the irregular wande»> 
ings of thought and expression, lest by a confinement 
to rules, they should seem to restrain the Spirit, and 
return to carnal ordinances. 

But, if the leaders of one party had spent as moch 
time in learning to pray, as they have done in reading 
liturgies, dnd vindicating their imposition ; and if the' 
warm writers of the other side, together with their just 
cautions against quenching the Spirit, had more cul- 
tivated this divine skill themselves, and taught Chri»> 
tians regularly how to pray ; I believe the practice of 

free prayer had been more universally approved, and 
the fire of this controversy had never raged to the di^ 
stmction of so much chanty. 
My design in tkit treatise has been to write a Praym 

book toithout forms; and I have sought to maintain the 

middle way, between the distant mistakes of contend 

ing CbristuaB. 


In describing the Tutture of the duty of prayer, thovgB 
I have not enlarged maeh on each particnlari nor mot 
tiplied sub-divisions, yet I have endeavored, with the 
utmost care and exactness, to divide the duty into 
all its necessary parts, that the memory of young 
Christians might be always furnished with somv 
proper matter and method for their addresses to Grod. 

The Cfiftf Oraee, and Spirit of Brayer, have of late 
years been made the subject of plentiful ridicule : and 
while some have utterly abandoned all pretences to 
them, and turned the very terms to jest and reproach, 
it must be confessed, that others have given too just 
occasion for such scandal, by explaining all these 
words in so exalted a sense, as. befits nothing but Di- 
vine inspiration. I have endeavored, therefore, to re- 
duce those terms to their more proper and rational 
meaning, and to explain them in such a way as the 
wisest and best men, of all persuasions, who have 
not been warmed with party zeal, have generally al- 
lowed. And I have had this design in my view, that 
plainer Christians among the dissenters might under- 
stand what they themselves mean, when they speak of 
praying by a gift, and praying by the Spirit ; that they 
might not expose themselves to the censure of talking 
witiiout a meaning, nor be charged with enthusiasm 
try their conforming neighbors. 

In discoursing of the gift or ability to pray, I havie 
been large and particular, both in directions to attain 
it, and describing the mistakes and indecencies thai 
persons may be in danger of committing in this duty ; 
being well assured, that we learn to avoid what is cul» 
ptbU, by a plain representation of faults and follie% 
Boeh better than by ft bare propotil of the best rate 
nd directioiifl. - 


* Bot here I am preised between a double difficolCj ; 
and already feel the pain of displeaaing some of mj 

If I ifhoald deacribe these improprieties of speecl^ 
and action in a moderate degree, scoffers wonld 19- 
proAch a whole party, of Christian?, and saj, that ] 
had copied all firom the life ; while my fiiends woold 
be ready to suspect ..that I had published some of thf 
errors of weaker brethren. 

On the other hand, if I should represent these faults 
in their utmost degree, of offensiveness, th^ adversaiy 
indeed could scarce have malice enough to believ^ 
any preacher in our day was guilty of them ; but my 
friends would tell me I had played at imp^rtinencief 
by exposing such faults as nobody practises. 

Now, when two evils lie before me, I would choose 
the least. It is better to be iihpertinent, than a publish- 
er of folly ; and ther^ore I have set forth those inde- 
..cenciesin their very worst appearance, that they might 
never be practised. Upon this account, I have bee^ 
forced to borrow instances of improper e^pressioBB 
irom antiquated writers; and several of the descriptions 
of irregular voices and gestures from some obscure per* 
^bns of the last age, whose talent of assurance was 
almost the only qualification that made them speakers 
in public : And this I was constrained to do, because 
my observations of the prayers I have heard could 
never have supplied my design. 

Besides, had I described some tolerable follies, 
^miuips weak men might have been ready to vindi- 
cate them, because Uiey did not see deformity enongk 
to Iw blamed. But now the instances I have given 
appear so disagreeable and ridiculous, that all meli 
nuurt be convinced they ought to be avoided; and 


jonnger Christians, when they learn to pray, will keep 
U the peatest distance from all such examples. 

Bat 'tis a hard matter to attempt reformation in any 
kind, without giving offence. 

I have also Added one short chapter of the Grace of 
Prayer, that the w ork might not appear too imperfeist ; 
though that has been abundantly and happily pursued 
\n. many treatises, and is the subject of daily sermons. 

In speaking of the Spirit of Prayer, 1 have tried to 
bbviate all controversies that have arii^en to trouble 
the church, by giving what appeared to me the moat 
natural exposition of the chief scriptures that refer to 
this matter ; and superadding a reasonable and intelli- 
^ble account of what hand the Spirit of God may be 
•apposed to have in assisting his people in this part of 

At the end of these chapters I have Ittid down many 
roles borrowed from reason, observation, and Holy 
Scripture, how every Christian may in some degre«f 
attain these desirable blessings ; and I have concluded 
the whole, with a hearty persuasive to covet the best 
jpfts, and seek afler the most excellent way of the 
performance of this duty. 

Perhaps some persons may wonder, that in a trei^ 
tiM which professes to teach the skill of Prayer, I 
should not once recommend the prayer that our Lord 
taught his disciples as a perfect pattern for all ChnB' 
tians. But it is my opinion, that divine wisdom gav^ 
it for other purposes ; and if this treatise meet with 
acceptance in the world, I may hereafter venture to 
expose my sentiments on the Loi'd's P'rayer, if God 
shall ever give me health to review and finish -them, 
with a short Essay or two on the Personal Ministry of 


Christ upon Mrthi whi«h ar» proper to b* joined with 

xTheee inatittttioiis were at first composed for tins 
one of a private society of younger men, who were d»r 
virous to learn to pray : and this may excuse the stylo 
and way of address in some parts of the discourso. 
It has lain -silent by me several years, and resisted 
many a call to appear in public, in hoper of being 
more polished before its first appearance. But when 
I shall have health and leisure to dress all my thoughts 
tq the best advantage, that Grod only knows, whose 
hand has long confined me. I am convinced at li^st, 
that it is better for me to do something for God, 
though it be attended with imperfections, than be 
guilty of perpetual delays in hopes of better pleasing 

After all the care I have taken to avoid controversy, 
and to express myself in such a way as might not be 
justly offensive to any sober Christians ; yet if I 
should prove so unhappy, as to say any thing disagree- 
able to the sentiments of some of my younger readers, 
I must entreat them not to throw away the whole trea- 
tise, and deprive themselves of all the benefit they 
might obtain by other parts of it. Nor should they 
load the whole book with reproaches and censures, lest 
thereby they prevent others from reaping those ad- 
vantages, toward converse with God, which the more 
inoffifensive pages might convey. An unwary censure, 
or a rash and hasty word thrown upon a discourse, or 
a sermon, a preacher, or a writer, hath sometimes don^ 
more disservice to religion, than could ever be recom- 
pensed by many recantations. Permit, therefore, the 
little book, that has an honest design, to teach creatures 



IQ iioid eo];retpoiid«iie« with their God ; penait it to 
do all the serriee it can. 

fled I fbund an^ treatise that had answered my de» 
•fllgiia, I had nerer given myself the trouble of writing 
this at first, nor yentored to expose it now. There 
«ie, indeed, several well-composed forms of devotion 
In the world, written by ministers of the conformist 
and non-conformist persuasions ; and these are of ex- 
cellent use to instruct us, in the matter and language 
cf prayer, if we maintain our holy liberty, and do not 
tie our thoughts down to the words of men. Mr. 
Henry's Method of Prayer is a judicious collection <^ 
scriptures, proper to the several parts of that duty. 
Mr. Murray has composed a volume of addresses to 
God, which he calls Closet Devotions on the Principal 
Heads of Divinity, in the Expressions of Scripture. 
Both these, if rightly used, will afford happy assistance 
to the humble and serious worshipper. Those Six Ser- 
mons of Prayer, published since this was written, 
are the useful labors of some of my valuable friends, 
and have many divine thoughts in them; but they 
take in the whole compass of this subject, in all the 
inward as well as outward parts of the worship ; and^ 
therefore, could not allow sufficient room to enlarge 
npon that which is my great design. 

It is not necessary to inform the world, that Bishop 
Wilkins, in his discourse of the G\ft of Prayer , has 
been my chief assistant toward the second chapter of 
this book ; nor need I tell my reader what writings I 
have consulted of the learned and pious Dr. Owen, 
and others that have written for or against the work of 
the Spirit in Prayer, in order to gain aclearer.light; 
nor what hints I have borrowed from the treatise of a 
▼•ry judicious author, with a fanciful title im^sed 


ii^<mitbjmn«ikiaiowiihuid,andcaU«dthe (hmmrmtitm 
qf SHekerSf wherein sereral praetical cues about ths 
mis of A$ Sjfirii are largely and well handled, though 
i had the opportnni^ of knowing and consulting it 
only tinc^this waa^^in the press. 

Bat if there are any advances made here beymid the 
labors of great men in the last age, I hope the world 
will excuse this attempt ; and if younger Christians, 
by perusal of these papers^ shall find themselves im- 
proved in the holy skill of prayer, when they get near- 
est to the throne of grace, I entreat them to put in one 
petition for the author, who has languished under great 
weakness for some years past, and is cut off from all 
public service. If ever he be restored again, he shall 
rejoice in farther labors for their good; he shall share 
in the pleasure of their improvements, and assist them 
in the work of praise. 




P&ATER is a word of an extensive sense in Scrip- 
ture, and includes not only a request or petition for 
mercies, but is taken for the address of a creature on 
earth to Grod in heaven, about every thing that con- 
cerns his Grod, his neighbor, or himself in this world 
or the world to come. It is that converse which 
God hath aOowed us to maintain with himself 
above, while we are here below. It is that language 
wherein a creature holds correspondence with Im 
Creator; and wherein the soul of a sunt often gets 
near to God, is entertained with great delight, and, 
as it were, dwells with his Heavenly Father, for 
a short season, before he comes to heaven* It is 
a glorious privilege that our Maker hath indulge 
ed to us, and id necessary part of that obedience 
which he hath required of us^ at all times and sea- 
sons, and in every circumstance of life;—- according 
to those scri^res, 1 Thess. v. 17. "Pray without 
ceanng.** PhiL iv. 6. "In every thing by prayer and 
m^jpiiaitiQD, mth tbaaksgiving, tet your t«^«r^\^ 

34t umoDucTioir. 

made known to God.** Eph. vL 18. ^Pnqring ^ 
ways, with all prayer and supplication.'' 

Prayer is a part of divine wore^ip that Is required 
of all men, and is to he performed either with the 
voice, or only in the heart, and is called Yocal or 
mental prayer. It is commanded to single peraons 
in their private retirements, in a more solemn and 
continued method or manner: and, in the midst 
of the business of Ufe, by secret and sudden lifting 
up of the soul to Crod. It belongs also to the conv- 
munities of men, whether they be natural, as hna* 
lies, or civil, as corporations, parliaments, courts, or 
societies for trade and business; and to religious 
communities, as when persons meet on any pious 
design, they should seek their God : it is required of 
the churches of Christians in an especial manner ; 
for the house of Grod is the house of prayer. Since^ 
therefore, it is a duty of such absolute necesfioty for 
all men, and of such universal use, it is fit we should 
all know how to perform it aright, that it may obtain 
acceptance of the great God, and become a delight- 
ful and profitable exercise to our own souls, and to 
those that join with us. 

To this end I shall deliver my thoughts on this 
sobject in the following order: 

First, I shall speak of Ihe nature of prayer as a 
duty of worsjiip. 

Secondly, As it is to be performed by the gifts or 
abilities Grod has bestowed upon us. 

Thirdly, As it must be attended with the exercUn 
of^ur graces. 

tmrocATioK. Sft 

AmtAJ^ Aa w« axe anifltod in-il bgr the 
Gbd: And| 

lySkbf^ Conclude all with an earnest addreaa to 
CSuktiaius, to aefk after thia holy skill of convene 
With God. 


Iir the discourse of prayer, considered as a dviy qf 
w&nhip required of us, that we may understand the 
whole nature of it better, let it be divided into 
its several parts ; and 1 think they may be all in- 
cluded in these following, namely : 

Invocation, Adoration, Confession, Petition, Pleads 
ihg, Profession or Self-dedication, Thanksgiving and 
Blessing: — of each of which I shaU speak particu- 



The first part of prayer is Invocation^ or calling 
qpon God; and it may include in it these three 

L A making mentum qf one or more ofiht names 
or tiUes of God; and thus we do, as it were, be- 
qpeak the person to whom we pray: as you have 
abundant instances in the prayers that are defivered 
down to us in Holy Scripture ; ^ Oh Lord m^ Q(^^ 

d6 AD^tLXTlOlH. 

mom, high and most holy God and Father^ (Soi 
of Isradf that dweUeth between the chenilnm. A] 
mi^ty God, and everlasting King. ^Otir Fathe 
"v^ho art in heaven. O God that kee[lest cove 
nant ; " and several others. 

2. A dedaration of our desire and dei^n to um 
shfyydm. ^ Unto thee do we lift up our souls ; w 
draw near unto thee as our Grod. We come int 
thy presence. We, that are but dust and ashe 
take upon us to speak to thy Majesty. We bo^ 
ourselves before thee in humble addresses," or sue 
like. — ^And here it may not be amiss to mentio 
briefly one or two general expressions of our ow 

3. A desire of his assistance and acceptance^ und 
a sense of our own insufficiency and unworthinei 
in such language as this : ** Lord, quicken us to cf 
upon thy name. — Assist us by thy Spirit in our m 
cess to thy mercy-seat. Raise our hearts towan 
thysel£ Teach us to approach thee as becom 
creatures, and do thou draw near to us as a God < 
grace. Hearken to the voice of my cry, my Ku 
and my God, for unto thee will I pray f* in Psali 
V. 2. in which words you have all these three pai 
of invocation expressed. 



Tax 9eamd part of prayer is AdoraOonf or hxm 
paid to God by the creature ; and it contains the 



L A wnxdiUm qf kls natwrt at God^ with the high- 
er admiration and reyerence; and this includes his 
most ori^nal properties and perfections, viz, his 
self-sufficient existence; th^t he is God of and 
fiom himself. His unity of essence; that there if 
no other God besides himself. His inconceivable 
Bobstance in three persons, the Father, the Son, and 
the Holy Spirit ; which mysteiy of the Trinity is a 
most proper object of our adoration and wonder, 
nnce it so much surpasses our understanding. His 
incomprehensible distance from all creatures, and 
his infinite supeiiqiity of nature above them, seem 
also to claim a place here. The language of this 
part of prayer runs thus : ^ Thou art God, and there 
is none else; thy name alone is Jehovah the most 
high. Who in the heavens can be compared to the 
Lord, or who among the sons of the mighty can be 
likened to our God ? All nations before thee are as 
nothing, and they are counted in tby sight, less than 
notlung, and vanity. Thou art the first and the 
last, the only true and living God; thy glorious 
name is exalted above all blessing and praise." 

^ The mention of his several attributes, with due 
expressions of praise, and with the exercise of suit- 
able grace and afiection : As his power, his judtice, 
his wisdom, his sovereignty, his holiness, his good- 
ness, and mercy. Abundance of which sort of 
expressions you find in Scripture, in those addresses 
that the saints have made to God in all age&r^ 
* Hiou art very gi^at, O Lord, thou art clothed with 
honor and majesty. Thou art the blessed and only 
Potentate, King of kings, and Loxd of Voida. j^ 


things are naked and open before thine eyes. Tbtn 
searchest the heart of man, but how unsearchablB 
Ib thine understanding, and thy power is unknofwn^ 
Thou art of purer eyes than to behold iniquiQ^. 
Thy mercy endureth forever. Thou art -slow to 
anger, abundant in goodness, and thy truth reachetH 
to al] generations.'' These meditations are of great 
use in the beginning of our prayers, to abase us 
before the throne of God, to awaken our reverence^ 
our dependence, our faith and hope, our humility 
and our joy. 

3. 7^ mention of his several works ; of creation, 
of providence, and of grace, with proper praisesb 
For as God is glorious in himself, in his nature and 
attributes, so by the works of his hands, hath he 
manifested that glory to us, and it becomes us to 
ascribe the same gloiy to him, i. e. to tell him hun>- 
bly what a sense we have of the several perfections 
he hatli revealed in these works of his, in such lan- 
guage as tliis : " Thou, Lord, hast made the heav- 
ens and the earth. The whole creation is the worik 
of thy hands. Thou rulest among the armies of 
heaven; and among the inhabitants of the earth 
thou doest what pleaseth thee. Thou hast revealed 
thy goodness towards mankind, and hast magni- 
fied thy mercy above all thy name. Thy woiks of 
nature and of grace are fbll of wonder, and sought 
out by all those that have pleasure in them.^ 

4. The tiunJtum of his reUftion to t», as a Creain^ 
O a Father, as a Redeemer, as a King, as an AP 
ndgfaty Friend, and our everlasting portion. And 

Aen it will not be impTO|^ tx> makA mmidoa of te 

coirnsssioK. 80 

mie of Christ, in and through whom alone we ara 
t)U|^t nigh to God, and made his children : Bjr 
hoee incarnation and atonement he becomes « 
od and Father to sinful men, and appears their 
«onciIed Friend. And by this means we draw 
in nearer to God in every part of this work of 

When we consider his nature, we stand afar off 
om him as creatures from a God ; for he is infi- 
tely superior to us : When we speak of his attri- 
ites, there seems to gi'ow a greater acquaintance 
itween God and us, while we tell him that we 
ire learnt something of his power, his wisdom, his 
sdce, and his mercy. But when we proceed to 
ake mention of the several works of his hands, 
herein he hath sensibly discovered himself to our 
ideretandings, we s^em yet to approach nigher to 
od ; and when at last we can arise to call nim our 
od, from a sense of his special relation to us in 
luist, then we gain the nearest access, and ace 
tier prepared for the following parts of this wov- 



IX Vdrd part of prayer consists in Chtfessvont 
hich may also be divided into these four heads i— 
1* tAk humble confession of (he meanness (f amr 
iure in Us original :• Our distance from God, ai 
) are creatures : Our subjection to him, and our 
DilaDt dependence qd bim«— >'XlKiatO I/»d^ A 

M r 



in heaven, but we on the earth ; our being is but ol |* 

yesterday, and our foundation is in the dust Whitf 

is man that thou art nundful of him, and the scm oi 

man that thou shouldst visit him? Man that 10^ 

worm, and the son of man that is but a worm! 1 

Tis in thee that we live, move, and have our being: 

thou withholdest thy breath, and we die.** j 

2. A witftssion of our sins, both original, which j 

belong to our nature, and actual, that have been | 

found in the course of our lives. .We should con- .j 

fess our sins, imder the sense of the guilt of them, y 

as well as under the deep and mournful impreasiona ^ 

of the power of sin in our hearts. We should con- ^ 

CbsB the sins that we have been guilty of in thou^t, j 

as well as the iniquities of our lips and of our lives. ^ 

Our nns of omission and sins of commission ; the f 

sins of our childhood and of our riper years ; ons ' 

against the law of Grod, and sins more particularly 

committed against the gospel of our Lord Jesus ' 


Sometimes, it is convenient and necessary to en- 
ter into a more particular detail of our various fiuiHs 
and follies. We should mourn before God, because 
of our pride and vanity of mind, the violence of our 
passions, our earthly-mindedness and love of this 
world; our sensuality and indulgence of our flesh, 
oar carnal security and unthankfhlness under plen- 
tifiil mercies, and our ftetiulneBB and impatience^ or 
ainfiil dejection, in a time of trouble; ourne^eeCof 
du^ and want of love to God, our onb^ef uid 
haidness of liteaft, our slotfafulnen, and decay in . 
BtbffMmf AadiabooefB wefaave hnnigfat to Ood, sttd 


dl our miflcaniages towards our fellow-«ereature8 
And theae may be aggravated on purpose to humble 
oar souls yet more before God, by a reflection on 
their variety and their multitude. How often they 
have been repeated, even before and since we knew 
God savingly ; that we have committed them against 
much light, and that we have ranned against much 
love ; and that, after many rebukes of the word and 
'providence, and many consolations from the gospel 
and Spirit of God. You find this part of prayer veiy 
plentifully insisted and enlarged upon, among those 
examples that are left us in the word of God. 

And with these confessions we must thus bewail 
and take shame to oureelves. ^ We are ashamed, 
and blush to lift up our faces before thee our God, 
for our iniquities are increased over our head, and 
our trespasses grown up to the heavens. Behold, 
we xare vile, what shall we answer thee ? We will 
by our hands upon our mouth, and put our mouth 
in the dust, if so be there may be hope.'' 

3. A confession of our desert ofpumshment^ and 
our unworthiness of mercy, arising from the sense 
that we have of all our aggravated sins, in such 
expressions as these : ^ We deserve, O Lord, to be 
fi»ever cast out of thy presence, and to be eternally 
cut off fix)m all hope of percy. We deserve to 
fiJl tmder the curse of that law which we have bro- 
ken, and to be forever banished from the blessings 
oC that gospel which we have so long refused. We 
bsve sinned against so much mercy, that we are no 
kiiger wcMlhy to be called thy children. We aio 
nttaity unwwthy of any of those &v(H:a that aie 



in thy word, and which thon httC givoi 
us encouragement to hope for. If thou contend 
with U8 fcMT our tranngrearions we are not able 
to answer thee, O Lord, nor to make excuse Ibr 
one of a thousand. If thou sbouldst maik ini- 
quities, O Lord, who shall stand ? But there is for- 
giveness with thee; there is mercy and plenteooi 

4. A confeanan^ or kumlde repreaeniaHon qf cur 
wants and sorrowa of every kind. The particulan of 
which will fall under the next head ; but it is nece^ 
sary they should he spread before God, and poured 
out, as it were, in his presence ; for God loyes to 
hear us tell him what a sense our souls have of our 
own particular necessities and troubles. He loves 
to hear us complain before him, when we are under 
any pressures from his hand, or when we stand in 
need of mercies of any kind. 




The fowih part of prayer connsts in PetUUnif 
which includes in it a desire of deliverance from eoiZ^ 
which is called deprecation, and a request qfgaod 
Vdngs to he bestowed; which is sometimes called 
comprecation. And on both these accounts, we 
must offer up our petitions to Crod for ourselveB and 
our feUow-creatures. 

The mis we pray to be delivered from, are of « 

ten^^oral, spuitual, or eternal kind. ** O Lord, take 

away ibe guilt of our ana by the atonement of diina 


a Son* Subdue the pow«r of our iniqiiities by 
Beown Spirit Defiver us from the natanl dnk- 
■ of our own minds, from the ccMTuptioii of our 
itSy and perveive tendencies of our appetites tnd 
■Otis. Free us from the temptations to which 
are exposed, and the daily snares that attend on 
) are in constant danger whibt we are in this 
; let the watchful eye of our God be upon us to 
defence ; deliver us from thine everlasting 
ith, and from that eternal punidunent that is due 
Mir sins in helL Save us from the power of our 
tnies m this worid, and from all the painful evils 
t we have justly exposed ourselves to by sinning 
Inst thee." 

Phe good we desire to be conferred upon us is 
I of a temporal, spiritual, or e/ema{ nature : as we 
y for the pardon of all our iniquities for the sske 
the great atonement, the death of our Redeemer, 
we beg of God the justification of our persons, 
oti^ the righteousness of his own Son Jesus 
rist, and our acceptance with God unto eternal 
. IVe pray for the sanctification <^ all the pow- 

of our natures by his Holy Spirit, for his enlight- 
ng influences, to teach us the knowledge <^ God 
Christ Jesus, as well as to discover to us the evil 
rin, and our danger by it We pnj for the con- 
idon of the Spirit of God, and that he would not 
y woriL faith and love, and every grace in our 
irts, but give us bright and plentiful evidences of 

own woric, and of our o^^ interest in the love 
God. We say unto God, ''O thou that hast the 
arts of all men in thy hanJ, fbma^ owe \«vN^ 


accofding to ihine own will, and accordiiig to iitm 
image of thine own Son : Be &ou our Ugiit md 
our strength ; make us to run in the ways of hoK* 
ness, and let all the means of grace be continued to 
us, and be made serviceable for the great #end fbt 
which thou hast appointed them. — ^Preserve thy 
gospel amongst us, and let all thy providences be 
sanctified. Let thy mercies draw us nearer to thy-< 
self, as vnth the cords of love ; and let the several 
strokes of thine afflicting hand wean us fromsiBy 
mortify us to this worid, and make us ready for « 
departure hence, whensoever thou pleasest to call 
us. Guide us by thy counsels, and secure tis hyi 
thy grace, in all our travels through this dangerous 
wilderness, and at last give us a triumph over death, 
and a rich and abundant entrance into the kingdom 
of thy Son in glory. But since, while we are here, 
we wear these* bodies of flesh about us, and there 
are ma;Qy things necessaiy to support our lives, and 
to make them easy and comfortable! we entreat thon 
wouldst bestow these conveniences and refi^esh- 
ments upon us, so far as is consistent with thine 
own glory, and the designs of thy grace. Let oinr 
health, our strength, and our peace be maintained, 
and let holiness to the Lord be inscribed upon them 
all, that, whatsoever we receive from thy bands, 
may be improved to thine honor, and our own tm* 
est advantage; heal our ^diseases, and pardon our 
iniquities, that our souls may ever bless thee." 

And as we are required to offer up petitions for 
ourselves, and make our own requests known to 
CM, 00 we are commanded to msSsA ^^tn^licalkHi 

RTiTioir. 46 

iira]lfliiiit8,''Epli.Tif 18; andtoofibrup sprayer 
nd iBterceoBioii for all ipen." 1 Tim. u. 1. And 
die word miereetnon is the common name ibr thii 
part of our peddona. In general, we must pray ftr 
tba church <^ Chriat, for Zion liea near to the heart 
of God, and her name is written upon the palms of 
the hands of our Redeemer; and the wel&re of 
Zioift should be much upon our hearts : we ought 
arer to haye the tenderest concern for the whole 
church of God in the world ; His church he values 
above kingdoms and nations ; and therefore, if we 
diBdnguish degrees of fervency in prayer ; we ought 
to plead more earnestly with God for his church, 
than for any nation or kingdom ; that he would en* 
large the borders of the dominion of Christ, that he 
would spread his gospel among the heathens, and 
make the name of Christ known and glorious firom 
die rising of the sun to its going down : That he 
would call in the remainder of his ancient people 
die JewSy and that he would bring the fulness of the 
CkniiUs into his church : that he would pour down 
a more abundant measure' of his own Spirit, to car- 
ry on his own work upon the earth. And we are to 
Bend up longing and earnest wishes to heaven, that 
the Spirit may descend and be diffused in plentiful 
degrees upon churches, upon ministers, upon faml- 
fies, and upon all the saints. We are to pray that 
GkKl would deliver his church from the power o^ 
peivecuting enemies; that he would restrain tho 
wrath of roan, and suffer not the wicked to triumph 
nrer the righteous. We are also in particular to r&- 
lOMt of God meiejr for the nati<Mi to 'wY^Skic^ ''w^ 


belong; that liberty and peace maybd establiriiecl 
and flourish in it^ for governors that rale over a% 
hi places of supreme authority or subordinate: thtt 
wisdom and faithfulness may be conferred upon 
them from heaven, to manage those afiaiis God 
hath intrusted them with on earth. We most pnsf 
fix our friends, and those who are nearly related to 
OS, that Grod would deliver them from all the evils 
they feel or fear, and bestow upon them all the 
good we wish for ourselves, here or hereafter. 

There is also another kind of petition^ ivhich nl 
used frequently in the Old Testament, and thatifl^ 
Imprecation, or a calling for vengeance and destrac- 
tion upon enemies; but this is veiy seldom to be 
used under the gospel, which is a dispensation of 
love; and should never be employed against our 
personal enemies, but only against the enemies of 
Christ, and such as are irreconcilable to him.^ — 
Christ hath taught us in his life, and given us an ex- 
ample at his death, to forgive and pray for our per- 
sonal enemies, for that is a noble singularity and 
glory of oiu* religion. 

Here let it be observed, that, when we pray to 
those things which are absolutely necessary to die 
gloiy of God, or to our own salvation, we may use 
a more full and fervent importunity in phtyer ; we 
may say, *^ Lord, without the pardon of our siiiB lire 
cannot rest satisfied ; without the renovation of oili 
natures by thy grace, our souls can never rest eMry { 
without the hopes of heaven we can never beai 
peace, and in these rei^cts will never let thee 90 
dUAouhhrnuB. For ZvnCtmto^^c^^liMt hoU 

PLBAOiiro. 47 

our peaee^ and ftr the ■ak6 of thy Jenmkmt tlqr 
gkny, thy church m the world, we will give thee no 
nm, tin thou haet made her the joy of the earth.'' 

But, on the other hand, when we plead with God 
ftr those merciea or comforts, upon which our sal- 
fatkm oar his own ^oiy do not necessarily depend, 
we dare not use so absolute an importunity in 
pnyer ; but we must learn to limit our petitions in 
such language as this; ^ If it be consistent with 
thine eternal counsels, with tlie purposes .of grace, 
and the grpat ends of thy glory, then bestow upon 
us such a blessing ; if it may be for the true inter- 
est of our souls, and for thine honor in the world, 
then let this &vor be granted to us ; otherwise we 
would learn to resign ourselves to thy wiser deter- 
mination, and say, Father, not our wills, but thine 
be done." 



The jl^ part of prayer may be ceiHedfPUading wUk 
God; which, though it be not so distinct a part by it- 
self bat rather belongs to the work of petition and 
request, yet it is so very 4arge and difiiunve, that it 
may well be separated by itself, and treated of dis- 
tinct^. Pleading with God, or arguing our case 
with hJm, in a fervent yet humble manner, is one 
part of that importunity in prayer, which scripture 
80 orach recommends. This is what all the saintsof 
M have practised: what Job resolves to engage in, 
lob^ zziiL4 <<If I could get neuer \o Q^V 


would order my cauae before him, and fiU ja^ 
mouth ynth arguments." This is yrhat the prophA 
Jeremy practised, Jer. zii. 1. " Righteous art thoi^ 
O Lord, when I plead with thee ; yet let me talk 
with thee of thy judgments: wherefore doth tt 
way of the wicked prosper?" We are not tD 
suppose that our arguments can have any real infliK 
ence on Grod's own will, and persuade him contrary 
to what he was before inclined : But as he condfr* 
scends to talk with us after the manner of men^ so 
he admits us to talk with him in the same manner 
too, and encourages us to plead with him as thou^ 
he were inwardly and really moved and prevailed 
upon by our importunities. So you find Moses is 
said to have prevailed upon God for the present 
tion of his people Israel, when he seemed resolved 
upon their destruction. Exodus, xxxii. 7 — ^14. In 
this work of Pleading with God, arguments are al- 
most infinite ; but tbe'chief of themmay be reduced 
to thfse following heads. 

1. ffe may plead tciih God from (he greatness qf 
our ioardSy our dangers, or our sorrows ; whether 
they relate to the soul or the body, to this life or the 
life to come, to ourselves or those for whom we 
pray. We may draw arguments for deliverance 
fiom the particular kind of afflictions that we labor 
uider. ^ My sorrows, O Lord, are such as oppres 
me, and endanger my dishonoring of thy name and 
thy gospeL My pains and my weaknesses lundor 

' me fix)m thy service, and I am rendered usekK 
opcm earth, and a cumberer of the ground : Th^ 

bare been already of so long continuance^ thai I 


ftar my flesh win not be able to hold out, nor mj 
tpmt to bear up, if thine hand abide thus heavy 
upon me. If this sin be not subdued in me, or that 
templation removed, I fear I shall be turned aside 
ftom the {Niths of religion, and let go my hope.** 
TbuBj from the kind, degree, or duration of our 
difficulties, we may draw arguments for relief. 

2. The severed perfections of the fuxture of Crod, are 
another head of arguments in prayer. ^For thy 
mercy's sake, O Lord, save rae: thy loving-kind- 
ness is infinite, let this infinite loving-kindness be 
diq)layed in my salvation. Thou art wise, O Lord, 
and though mine enemies are crafty, thou canst 
disappoint their devices : and thou knowest how, 
by Siy wondrous counsels, to turn my sorrows into 
joy. Thou canst find out a way for my reUel^ 
when all creatures stand afar ofi, and say that they 
see no way to help me. Thou art almighty, and 
all-sufficient : Thy power can suppress my adver- 
saries at once, vanquish the tempter, break the pow- 
ers of darkness to pieces, release me fix)m the 
chains of my corruption, and bring me into glorious 
liberty. Thou art just and righteous, and wilt thou 
let the enemy oppress forever? ^Thou art sove- 
reign, and all things are at thy command. Thou 
canst say to pains and diseases, go, or come;* speak 
therefore the sovereign word of healing, and my 
flesh and soul ahaJl praise thee. Thou delightest 
in paidoning grace : it is the honor of our God to 
jfovgive ; therefore let my iniquities be all cancelled 
tiucouf^ the abundance of thy rich mercy." 



3. Another argument in pleading with God, may 
be drawn from the several relations in tMdi CM 
skmds unto men, particularly to his oum peofie* 
^ Lord, thou art my Creator : wilt thou not have a 
deaire to the work of thine hands ? Hast thou not 
made me and fashioned me, and ^t thou noiw 
destroy me ? Thou art my Governor and my King; 
to whom should I fly for protection but to thee, 
when the enemies of thine honor and of my soul 
beset me around ? Art thou not my Father? and 
hast thou not called me one of thy children ? and 
given me a name and a place among thy sons and 
thy daughters ? — ^Why should I look like one cast 
out of thy sight, or that belongs to the family of 
Saltan'^ Are not the bowels of a father with thee, 
and tender compassions ? Why should one of Ay 
poor, weak and helpless children be neglected <Hr 
fbrgotten ? Art thou not, my God, in covenant, and 
the God and Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, by 
whom that covenant is ratified ? Under that rela- 
tion I would plead with thee for all neceasaiy 

4. The various and particular promises of Out 
coDenarU of grace, are another rank of arguments to 
use in prayer. "Enlighten me, O Lord, and par- 
don me, and sanctify my soul; and bestow grace 
and glory upon me, according to that word of tiiy 
promise on which thou hast caused me to hope^ 
Remember thy word is past in heaven ; it is we^ 
corded among the articles of thy sweet covenanly 
that I must receive light, and love, and strength, and 

joy, and happiness *, aiid ait thou not a &ithS^ God 


to fblfil every one of diose promises? What if 
hMTen and earth must pass away? Yetthyco?8>- 
naat -stands upcm two unmutable pillars, thy pnna- 
ise and thine oath ; and now I have fled for refiige 
to ky hold on this hope, let me have strong conso- 
fattkm. Remember the covenant made with thy 
Son in the days of eternity ; and let the mercies 
there promised to all his seed, be bestowed upMi 
me, according to my various wants." This calling 
to remembrance the covenant of God, hath been oft- 
en of great efficacy and prevalence in the prayers 
of the ancient saints. 

5. The name and honor of God 'in (he wofdd^ is 
another powerful argument ^ What wilt thou do 
&it thy great name, if brad should be cut oflT, or 
perish ? " Joshua vii. 9. ^ If thy saints go down to 
the grave in multitudes, who shall praise thee in the 
Umd . of the living ? The dead cannot celebrate 
thee, nor make mention of thy name and honors^ 
as I do this day.'' This was the pleading of HexiO' 
Hdhj Isaiah xxxviii. 18. And DanAd uses the same 
language. Psalm vi. 5. For thy name's sake, was a 
mighty argument in all the ancient times ai the 

6. Form& experiences of owselvea and otherg^ 
aie another sQt of arguments to make use of in 
pmyer. Our Lord Jesus Christ in that prophetical 
FBsSm, Ps. xzii. 5, is represented as uabag this argii- 
meiit; ^Our fathers cried unto thee, O Lord, and 

« were delivered ; they trusted in thee, and they were 
inat ooitfounded : let me be a partaker of the same 
finfor whUst I cry unto thee, and nudsA i&y^ nq 


truflC: Thoit bast never said to the seed of Jaoob| 
Seek ye my face in vain ; and let it not be said that 
thy poor servant has now sought thy face, and hai 
not found thee. Often have I received mercy in if 
way of return to prayer : often hath my soul 
drawn near unto thee, and been comforted in tfaa 
midst of sorrows: often have I taken out fredi 
supphes of grace, according to my need, from the 
treasures of thy grace, that are in Christ : and shall 
the door of these treasures be shut against me now? 
Shall I receive no more favors from the hand of 
my God, that has heretofore dealt them so plenti- 
fully to me ? " Now, how improper soever this sort 
of argument may seem, to be used in courts of 
princes, or to entreat the favor of great men, yet 
God loves to hear his own people make use of it^ 
for though men are quickly weary of multiplying 
their bounties, yet the more we receive from God, 
if we humbly acknowledge it to him, the more we 
are like to receive still. 

7. The most powerful and most prevailing argu- 
ment is, The name and mediation of ovr Lwd Jenu 
Christ. And though there be some hints or shad- 
ows of the use of it in the Old Testament, yet it wai 
never taught us in a plain and express manner, till a 
little before our Saviour left this wo^^ld : John xvL 
23, 24 "Hitherto ye have asked nothing in my 
name ; ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may 
be ftiU. Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my 

name, he will give it you." ^This seems to h% 

reserved for the peculiar pleasure and power of the 
duty of prayer under the gospeL We are taught to 


make mention of the name of Jesus, the only 
begotten and etenial Son of Crod, as a method to 
receive our biggest requests and 'fullest salvatidlo. 
And in such language as this we should address th« 
Father: ''Lord, let my sins be forgiven, for the sake 
of that love which thou bearest to thine own Son ; 
for the sake of that love which thy Son beareth to 
thee ; for the sake of his humble state, when ho 
took flesh upon him, that he might look tike a sin— 
ner, and be ngi^de a sacrifice, though himself was 
free fix>m sin ; for the sake of his perfect and pain- 
fiil obedience, which has given complete honor to 
thy law ; for the sake of the curse wiiich he bore, 
and the death which he suffered, which hath glori- 
fied thine authority, and honored thy justice more 
than it was possible for my sins to have af&onted 
it Remember his dying groans; remember hii 
agonies when the hour of darkness was upon him ; 
and let not the powers of darkness prevail over me. 
Remember the day when thou stoodest afar from 
thine own Son, and he cried out as one forsaken of 
God, and Jet me have thine everlasting presence 
with me ; let me never be forsaken, since thy Son 
hath borne that punishment." Again; we may 
plead with God, the intercession of Jesus, our High 
Priest above : ** Father, we would willingly ask thee 
for nothing, but what thy Son already asks thee for: 
we would willingly request nothing at thine hands, 
but what thine own Son requests beforehand for 
08 :' Look upon the Lamb, as he Had been slain, in 
the midst of the throne : Look, upon his pivsp and 
perfect nghteoumoBSf and that blood m\k ^\as^ 

64 paoFcssioN. 

our High Priest is entered into the highest heavrais, 
and in which forever he appears before thee to 
mhke intercession; and let every blessing be be- 
stowed upon me, which that Mood did purchase, 
and which that great, infinite Petitioner pleads for 
at thy right hand. What canst thou deny thine 
own Son ? For he hath told us, that thou hearest 
him always. For the sake of that Son of thy love 
deny us not" 

Thus have I finished this Jifth part of prayer, 
which conasts in pleading with God. 



The sixth part of prayer condsts in Profession^ \yt 

This is very seldom mentioned by writer as a 
part of prayer ; but to me it appears so very neces- 
sary in its nature, and so distinct from all the rest, 
that it ought to be treated of separately, as well as 
any other part; — and may be divided into these 
four heads. 

1. A profession of our rekxtion to God. — ^And it is 
worth while, sometimes, for a saint to draw near 
unto God, and to tell him that he is tlie Lord's : 
That he belong lo his family : That he is one of 
his household : — ^That he standi among the number 
of his children : That his name is written in his 
covenant And there is a great deal of spiritual 
delight and' soul satisfaction arising from racfa ap- 
peab to Godf concerning oui Te\&^o\i t& Vmxu 


2. A prqfenian of our former tranuaeUom with 
Qod, ^^hoifdf we have given ounelves up unto 
thee, and chosen thee for our eternal portion, and 
<Hir highest good : We have seen the insufficiency 
of oieatures to make us happy, and we have beta« 
bn ourselves to a higher hope ; we have l^hdd 
Qirist Jesus the Saviour in his perfect righteous- 
ness, and in his all-sufficient grace ; we have put 
our trust in him, and we have made our covenant 
With the Father, by the sacrifice of the Son: W9 
have often drawn near to thee in thine ordinances ; 
We have ratified and confirmed the holy covenant 
at thy table, as well as been devoted to thee by the 
initial ordinance of baptism ; we have given up our 
Dames to God in his house; and we have, as it 
were, subscribed with our hands to be the Lord's. 

3. Apreaent surrender of ovrsekjei to Chd^ and a 
profusion of &u present exercise of our several qffeC" 
turns and graces towards km, — ^And' this is sweet 
language in prayer, when the soul is in a right 
finme. ^ Loid, I confirm all my former dedications 
o£ myself to thee : and be all my covenantings for- 
ever ratified. Or, M* 1 did never yet sincarely give 
myself up to the Lord, I do it now with the greatest 
solemnity, and fix)m the bottom of my heart: I 
eommit my guiUy soul into the hands of Jeenis my 
Redeemer, that he may sprinkle it with his atoning 
blood, that he may clothe it with his justifying right- 
eotmness, and make me (a vile nnner) accepted in 
the presence of a just and holy God. I appear, O 
Father, in the presence of thy justice and holiness, 
elotbod jn the g&rmsnta of tjiiine own ^x^ «xA \ 


trast thou beholdest not iniquity in me to punish it* 
I give my soul, that has much corruption in it by 
nature, and much of the remaining power of nn, 
into the hands of my Almighty Saviour, that by fak 
grace he may form all my powers anew ; that he 
may subdue every irregular appetite, and root out 
every disorderly passion; that he may frame me 
after his own image, fill me with his own grace, and 
fit me for his own glory. I hope in thee, my God, 
fbr thou art my refuge, my strength, and my salva- 
tion ; I love thee above all things ; and I know I 
love thee. Whom have I in heaven but thee ? 
And there is none upon earth that I desire in cod»- 
parison with thee : I desire thee with my strongest 
affections, and I delight in thee above all delights : 
My soul stands in awe, and fears before thee ; and I 
rejoice to love such a God, who is alfnighty, and the 
object of my highest reverence." 

4. A profession of our humble and holy resolvHont 
to he the Lord's forever. This is what is generally 
called a vow. Now, though I cannot encourage 
Christians to bind 'themselves, in particular instan- 
ces, by fi'equently repeated vows, and es[>ec]al>y in 
things that are in themselves indifferent, which 
oflentimes proves a dangerous snare to souls; yet 
we can never be too frequent, or too solemn in the 
general surrender of our souls to Grod, and binding 
our souls by a vow to be the Lord's forever : To 
love him above all things ; to fear him, to hope in 
him, to walk in his ways, in a course of holy obedi- 
enoe, and to wait for his mercy unto eternal life. 
Farmioh a vow as this iB,\B mciudfid m the nature of 

PROFSssioir. 57 

hoth the ordinanees of the gospel, Baptism and the 
Lord*8 Supper. Such a vow as this is, is com* 
prehended almost in every act of won^ip, and 
eflpecially in solemn addresses to God, hy prayer. 
I might add, 

In the last place, That, together with this proft»' 
$Um or sdf'dedicaiion to God, it is necessary we 
should renounce every thing that ia inconsistent here" 
wiUi ; and that unc^er each of the four pn>ceding 
heads : '^ As I am thine, O Lord, and I 'belong not 
to this worid, I have given myself to thee, and I 
have given myself away from sin and from the 
efeature : I have renounced the world as my por- 
tion, and chosen the Father. I have renounced all 
other saviours, and all my own duties and righte- 
ousnesses as the foundation of my interest in the 
fiivor of God, and chosen Christ Jesus as my only 
way to the Father. I have renounced my own 
strength as the ground of my hope ; for my imder- 
standing is dark, my will is impotent, and my best 
affections are insufficient to carry me onwards to 
heaven : I now again renounce dependence upon 
all of them, that I may receive greater light, and 
strength, and love from God. I am dead to the law, 
I am mortified to sin, I am crucified to the world, 
and all by the cross of Jesus my Saviour. [ bid 
Satan get him behind me ; I renounce him and his 
wcnks ; I will neither fear him nor love him, nor 
lay a confederacy with the men of this world ; fbr I 
lore my God ; for I fear my God ; in my God is my - 
ammal help and hope ; I will say, what have I to 
do aoj JDOie with ido]B ? And 1 vrilL \iams^ ^Cca 


objects of temptadoQ from my ngfat Thi^s I aban- 
don every thing that would divide me fiom God^ to 

whom I liave made a Burrender of myselfl And 

sbouldst thou see fit t6 scourge and correct me, Q 
my God, I submit to thine hand ; shouldst thoa 
deny me the particular requests I have presented to 
thee, I leave myself in thy hands, trusting thou wilt 
choose better for me. And because I know my 
own frailty of heart, and the inconstancy of my 
will, I humbly put aU-4hese my vows and solemn 
engagements into the hands of my Lcnrd Jesus, lo 
fulfil them in me, and by me, through all the 
days of my infirmity, and this dangerous state of 



The severUh part of prayer consists in Thankagkh 
ing. To give thanks is to acknowledge the bounty 
of that hand whence we receive our blessings, and 
to ascribe honor and praise to the power, the wis- 
dom, and the goodness of God upon that accoont^ 
And this is part of that tribute which God our King 
expects at our hands, for all the favors we receive 
from him. It very ill becomes a creature to partake 
of benefits fit)m his God, and then to forget hki 
heavenly benefactor, and grow regardless of that 
bounty tcom whence hid comforts fiow. The mat- 
ter of our thanksgivings may be arranged under 
these two heads; we must give thanks for those 
bene6t8 ibr which ^f^ Vave v^^j^^ «s^ to those 


which Qod hath conferred upon us without praying 

L Those hen^i uMch God hath besUnoed on ug 
wkhnd asking, are proper to be mentioned in the 
firat place ; for they are the effects of his rich and 
preventing mercy ; and how many are the blessings 
of his goodness with which he has prevented us! 
** We praise thee, O Lord, for thine original designs 
of love to fallen man ; that thou shouldst make a 
distinction between us and the angels that sinned: 
What is man, that thou art thoughtful about his 
salvation ; and sufferest the angels to perish forever^ 
without remedy : that thou shouldst choose a cer- 
tain number of the race of Mam, and give them 
into the hands of Christ before all worlds, and 
make a covenant of grace with them in Christ 
Jesus, that their happiness might be secured : that 
thou shouldst reveal this mercy in various types 
and promises to our fathers, by the prophets, and 
that in thine own appointed time thou shouldst 
send thy Son to take our nature upon him, and to 
redeem us by his death? We give glory to thy 
justice, and to thy grace for this work of terror and 
G<Hnpassion, this woik of reconciling sinners to 
thyself, by the punishment of thy Son : we praise 
thee for the gospel which thou hast published to 
the world — ^the gospel of pardon and peace ; and 
that thou hast confirmed it by such abundant tesd- 
monies, to raise and establish our faith. We give 
glory to that power of thine which has guarded ^y 
goipel in aU ages ; andshrough ten thousand oppo- 
flkioDs of SaUuij hath delivered it down «a& \» qmx 


age, and proclaimed the glad tidings of peace in onr 
nation. We bless thee that thou hast built halntn- 
tions for thyself amongst us, and that we should be 
bom in such a land of light as this is : it is a distin- 
guishing favor of thine, that among the woiks of 
ihy creation, we should be placed in the rank of 
rational beings ; but it is more distinguishing good- 
ness, that we should be bom of religious parents^ 
under the general promises of grace. We .give 
thanks unto thy goodness for our preservation from 
Ynany dangers, which we could never foresee, and 
which we could not ask thee to prevent. How 
infinitely are we indebted to thee, O Lord, that thou 
hast not cut us off in a state of nature and sin, and 
that our portion is not at this time amongst the 
childy-en of eternal wrath ! That our educatioti 
should be under religious care, and that we should 
have so many conveniences and comforts of life 
conferred upon us, as well as the means of grace 
brought near to us ; and all this before we began to 
know thee, or sought any of the mercies of this 
life, or of the other, at thine hands ! " 

2. We must give thanks for the bene/Us we have 
received as, an answer to prayer, — Whatsoever bless- 
ings we have sought at the hands of Grod, demand 
our acknowledgments to his goodness, when we 
become receivers. And here there is no need to 
enlarge in particulars ; for we may look back upcm 
the fourth part of prayer which consists in petition ; 
and there read the matter of our thankfulneisB. 
There we leam to give glo^ to Grod for our deliv- 
enmce. £vm jevils, temporal and e^mtxxal^ and o«ir 

BLissiirow 61 

hopcB of deliveiBiice fit>in the eviki that are eternal | 
for the commuDication of good for soul and body, 
and our comfortable expectation of the eternal hap- 
pinew of both; for mercies bestowed on churchea, 
OD nations, on our governors, on relatives and 
our fiiends, as well as ourselves. And we should 
rejoice in our praises, and say to the Lord, ** Verity 
thou art a God that hearest prayer, and thou hasi 
not despised the cry of those that sought thee ; wo 
ourselves are witnesses, that thou dost not bid thy 
people seek thy face in vain." 

All. these our thanksgivings may bo yet further 
hdgfatened in prayer, by the consideration^ of the 
multitude of the mercies that we have received, of 
their greatness, and of their continuance : By the 
mention of the glory and self-sufficiency of God 
the giver, that he is happy in himself and stands in 
no need of us ; and yet he condescends to confer 
perpetual benefits upon us ; that he is Sovereign, and 
might dispose of his favors to thousands, and leave 
us out of the number of his favorites : That we are 
as vile and unworthy as others, and that our God 
beholds all our unworthiness, all our guilt, our re- 
peated provocations, and his past mercies abused, 
and yet he continues to have mercy upon us, and 
* waits to be gracious. 



Ths tighth part of prayer consists in Blessit^ 
of God ; which ha4 a distinct sense from \^x«^ qx 
London, and ia distinguiflhed also &om ^!lQas^%Ar 



laying. In Pfialm cxlv. 10, it is said, ^A31 thy 

works praise tiiee, and thy saints bless thee ^ i. e. 
Even the inanimate creation which are the woiks 
of Grod, manifest his attributes and praises ; but his 
saints do something more; they bless his name: 
which part of worship consists in these two things: 

1. In Tnentioning the several attributes and paries 
of God toith inward- joy, satisfaction and pUaswru 
^ We delight, O Lord, to see thy name honored in 
the world, and we rejoice in thy real excellencies ; 
we take pleasure to see thee exalted above aU ; we 
triumph in the several perfections of thy nature, 
and we give thanks at the remembrance of thine 
holiness." Thus we rejoice and bless the Lord for 
what he is in himself, as well as for what he has 
done for us : And this is a most divine and un- 
selfish act of worship. 

2. Wishing the glories of God may forever continue^ 
and rejoicing at the assurance of it *^May the 
name of God be forever blest ! May the kingdom, 
and the power, and the glory be forever ascribed to 
him ! May all generations call him honorable, and 
make his name glorious in the earth. To thee, O 
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, belong everlasting 
power and honor." 



We are taught in several places of Scripture, to 
conclude our prayers with Amen; which isalGs- 

• coNCCution. 63 

Certamhf, Surdy, ifc, and it implies in it these four 

1. A hditfof aU that wt have said eonceming God 
and ovrsdvea ; of aU our ascriptions of honor to 
God, in the mention of his name, and attributes and 
waAi ; and a sensible inward pereuasion of our oym 
unworthiness, our wants and our sorrows, which 
we have before expressed. 

2. A wishing and desiring to obtain aU (hat we 
have prayed f or ylongiDg after it, and looking for it 
** Lord, let it be thus as we have said," is tha lan« 
guage of this little word, Amen, in the end of our 

9. A eoft^rmaHon of all ovr professions, promises 
and ef^agements to God: It is used as the form of 
the oath of Grod in some places in Scripture: — 
"Verily, or surely, in blessing I will bless thee;" 
Hiefow yi. 14. And it is, as it were, a solemn oath 
in our lips, binding ourselves to the Lord, according 
to the profesffl<ms that we have made in the fore- 
going part of worship. 

4. JB implies also ike hope and sure expectation of 
(^ aeeqfUmee of mar persons, and audience of our 
prayers. For while we thus confirm our dedication 
of ourselves to Grod, we also humbly lay claim to 
his accomplishment of the promises of his covenant, 
and expect and wait that he will fulfil all our peti- 
tions, so &r as they are agreeable to our truest in- 
terest, and the designs of his own gloiy. 





Having already spoken of the nature of prayer, m 
distinguished it into its several parts, I proceed 
^ve some account of the gift or ability to pray. 

This holy skill of speaking to God in prayer, ha 
been usually called a gift: and upon this accouj 
it hath been represented by the weakness and foj 
of some persons, like the gift of miracles, or pi 
phecy, which are entirely the effects of divine inq 
ration ; wholly out of our reach, and unattainal 
by our utmost endeavors. The malice of othc 
hath hereupon taken occasion to reproach all pi 
tences to it as vain fancies, and wild enthusiad] 
But 1 shall attempt to give so rational an account 
it in the following sections, and lay down such pla 
directions how to attain it, with the assistance oft] 
Holy Spirit, and his blessing on our own ditigen* 
and ^labor, that I hope those prejudices will be 1 
ken off, and the unjust vidped awj 



The Gift of Prayer may be thus described : 

Mis an abUity to mU our thoughts to aUfke vm 
nuparU and detigm qf this dtEbj^ aivd areobEineM 

Girr or fratxb. 65 

exprew UiMt ihmtf^ htfore Ood tn ih^JUUM maimer^ 
fopnfil our wms^uUjOndihe mndt qfoihen (hat jam 

It is called a gift, pardy because it was bestowed 
on the apostles and primitive Christians, in an im- 
mediate and extraordinary manner, by the Spirit of 
God ; and pardy because there is the ordinary as- 
sistance of the Spirit of God required, even to the 
attainment of this holy skiU, or ability to pray. 

In the first propagation of the gospel, it pleased 
the Spirit of God to bestow various powers and 
alnlities on believers ; and these were called the gifta 
of the Spirit, 1 Cor. xii. 4,8,9. Such were the 
gifts of preaching, of exhortation, of psalmody, t.e. 
of making and singing of psalms, of healing the 
sick, of speaking several tongues, &c. Now, though 
these were given to men at once, in an extraordi- 
naiy viray then, and the habits wrought in them, by 
immediate Divine power, made them capable of ex- 
erting the several acts proper thereto, on just occa- 
amis; yet these powers or abilities of 8i>eaking 
several tongues, of psalmody, of preaching and heal- 
ing, are now to be obtained by human diligence, , 
with due dependence on the concurring blessing of 
God. And the same must be said concerning the 
gift or fticulty of prayer. 

As the art of medicine or healing is founded on 
the knowledge of natural principles, and made up 
of several rules drawn firom the nature of things, 
from reason and observation ; so the art of preach- 
ing is learned and attained by the knowledge of di- 
vine pnnciplefl^ and the use of nileB uid. dss^c^^xA 

F ' 


for explaining and applying divine truths: and so 
the holy skill of prayer is built on a just knowledge 
of God and ourselves, and may be Itaught in as ra- 
tional a method, by proper directions and rules. 
But because, in a special manner, we expect the aidi 
of the Holy Spirit, in things so serious and sacred, 
therefore the faculties of preaching and pnying an 
called the Gifts of the Spirit, even to this day; 
whereas, that word is not now-a-days applied to tht 
Mii of medicine, or skill in the languages. 



The gift of Prayer is one of the noblest and mo§t 
useful in the C)iristian life, and therefore to be 
■Dught-with earnest desire and diligence; and in 
order to attain it, we must avoid these two extremes. 

I. A confining .ourselves entirely to precomposed 
forms of prayer. 

II. An entire dependence on sudden motions and 
suggestions of thought 

I. The first extreme to be avoided is, a confininf 
ourselves to set precomposed forms of prayer. 

I grant it lavfrfiil and convenient for wester Chris- 
tians to use a form in prayer, rather than not pe^ 
form that duty at all Christ himself seems to han 
indulged it to his disciples, in their infant state d 
Christianity. [Luke xL 1, S, &c.] I grant also^ 
tiua flometimfet the moit improved sainn may find 


ibear own wants and desires, and the fhunes of their 
own hearts so happily ejEpressed in the words of 
other men, that they cannot find better ; and may, 
therefore, in a yeiy pious manner use the same, es- 
pecially when they labor under a present deadnesi 
of spirit, andgreat indisposition for the duty. It isa^ 
80 evident, that many assistances may be borrowed 
by youngpr and elder Christians, from forms of 
prayer well composed, without the iise of the whole 
form as a prayer. And if 1 may have leave to speak 
the language of a judicious author, who wrote more' 
than forty years ago, I would say, with him, " that 
forms may be useful, and in some cases necessary : 

1. " Some, even among Christians and professors, 
are so rude and ignorant, (though it may be spoken 
to their shame,) that they cannot tolerably express 
their desires in prayer : — and must such utterly ne^ 
lect the duty ? Is it not better, during^ their gross 
ignorance, to use the help of other gifls and compo- 
sures, than not to pray at all ? Or to utter that 
which is senseless and impious ? I speak it not to 
excuse their ignorance, or that they should be en- 
couraged to rest satisfied herein, but for the present 

2. ^ Some again, though they can do it privately, 
and so far as may sufiSlce in their secret addresses to 
God ; yet, when they are to pray before others, want 
eidier dex^rity and fitness of expresaon, readiness 
of utterance, or confidence to use those abilities they 
have* whom yet I will not excuse from a sinful 



d. ^ It 18 poflBible^ that some bodily distomper, oi 
sudden distraction, may befall such as are otherwise 
able, which may becloud their minds, weaken theii 
memories, and dull th^ir parts, that they may be un* 
fit to express themselves in extemporary cono^ 
tions. This may happen in cases of melancholy 
cold, palsies, or the like distempers. 
^ I conclude, then, that in the cases aforesaid, oi 
^ the like, a form may be profitable and helpfiiL Noi 
is it a tying up of the Spirit, but if conscientiously 
used, may be both attended with the Spirit's aarast- 
ance, and find 'acceptance with God. Yet it wiU 
not hence follow, that any should satisfy themselves 
in such stated and stinted forms i Much less, thai 
those who have praying abilities, should be enforced 
by others to rest in them. If ignorance, bashfulness 
defect of memory, or other distempers, may rendei 
it excusable and necessary to some, is it fit that al 
should rest in their measure ? Where then will be 
that coveting earnestly the best gifls ? or wHji 
should those that are excellently gifted that way, b( 
hindered fixnn the use and exercise of that gift 
because others want it ? " 

• Thus fiir this worthy writer. Now though the 
use of forms in such cases' be not unlawful^ yet f 
perpetual confinement to them will be attendee 
with such inconveniences as these : 

1. It much hinders the fi^e exercifo of our owz 
thoughts and deares, which is the chief work and 
business of prayer, viz, to express our desires tc 
Qodi and whereas our thoughts and afiectioiu 

eboqld direct piir words, a aet fotmof words directi 


our thoughts and aHfections ; and while we Innd 
ounelves to those words only, we damp our inwaid 
devotion, and prevent the holy &re from kindling 
within us ; we discourage our active powers and 
paaBi<m8 from running out on divine subjects, and 
check the Ix'eathings of our souls heaven-ward. 
The wise man tells us, Prov. xiv. 10, ^ The heart 
knows its own bitterness, and a strangef intermed- 
dles not with its joy." There are secret joys and 
unknown bitterness, which the holy soul longs to 
^nead before God, and for which it cannot find Bfxy 
auct and correspondent expressions in the beat of 
pnyer books : Now must such a Christian suppress 
all those thoughts, and forbid himself all that sweet 
conversation with his Grod, because it is not written 
down in the appointed form? 

2. Tlie thoughts and afifections .of the heart that 
ate truly pious and sincere, are wrought in us by 
the Spirit of Grod ; and if we deny them utterance, 
because they are not found in prayer books, we 
run the danger of resisting the Holy Ghost, quench- 
in^he Holy Spirit, and fighting against the kind 
designs of God towards us, which we lire so ex- 
I»es8ly cautioned against, [1 Thess. v. 19*] and 
which an humble Christian trembles to think o£ 

3. A confinement to forms cramps and imprisons 
those powers that God hath given us for impvove- 
ment and use ; it silences our natural abilities, and 
fi>rbids them to act; and it puts a bar upon our 
ipiritual faculties, and prevents their growth. To 
Mitisfy ourselves with mere forms, to confine, our- 
selves wholly to them, and neglect \o iftax \x^ «sA 


improye our own gifts, is one kind of spiritual sMby 
and highly to be disapproved. It is hiding a talent, 
in the earth, which God has given us on purpose to 
carry on a trade with heaven. It is an abuse of our 
knowledge of divine things, to neglect the use of it 
in our converse with God. It is as if a man that 
had once used crutches to support him when he 
was feeble, would always use them ; or because he 
has sometimes found his own thoughts happily ex- 
pressed in conversation with another person, there- 
fore he will assent to what that other person shall 
always speak, and never speak his own thoughts 

4. It leads us into the danger of hypocrisy, and 
mere lip-service. Sometimes we shall be tempted 
to express those things which are not the veiy 
thoughts of our own souls, and so use words that 
are not suited to our present wants, or sorrows, or 
requests ; because those words are put together and 
made ready before-hand. 

5. The confinement of ourselves to a form, 
though it is not always attended with formiAty 
and indifference, yet it is very apt to make our 
spirits cold and flat, formal and indifferent in our 
devotion. The frequent repetition^ of the same 
words doth not always awaken the same aifections 
in our hearts, which perhaps they were well suited 
to do, when we first heard, or made use of them. 
When we continually tread one constant road of 
sentences, or track of expressions, they become 
Hke an old beaten path in which we daily travel, 

smd we are ready to walk on withQut particular 


notice of the seTeral paths of the way ; bo in our 
daily repetitkm of a form, we neglect due attention 
to the full sense of the words, fiut there is 
something more suited to awaken the attention of 
the mind in a conceived prayer : when a Christian 
is making his own way toward Gk>d, according to 
the present inclination of his soul, and urgency of 
his present wants ; and to use the words of a writer 
laielj cited, ^ While we are clothing the sense of 
our hearts in fit expressions, and as it were, 'digging 
Ae matter of our prayers out of our own feelings 
and experiences, it must needs keep the heart cloe- 
er at work." 

' 6. The duty of prayer is yeiy useful to discover 
to us the frame of our own spirits ; but a constant 
use pf forms will much hinder our knowledge of 
ourselves, and prevent our acquaintance with our 
own hearts ; which is one great spring of maintaiii- 
ing inward religion in the power of it Daily 
observation of our own spirits, would teach us what 
our wants are, and how to firame our prayers before 
God; but if we tie ourselves down to the same 
warda always, our own observation of our heart! 
will be of litde use, shice we must speak the same 
ezpresmons let our hearts be 'how they will. As' 
therefore an inward search of our souls, and inti- 
mate acquaintance vnth ourselves, is a mean 'to 
obtain the gift of prayer ; so the exercise of the 
gift of prayer will promote this self-acquaintance ; 
which is discouraged and hindered by the restraint 
of forms. 


In the last place, I mentioii the meet luualy moit 
eyident and convinciDg argument against peipecnal 
confinement of ouraelves to a fonn; and that ii^ 
because it renders our converse with God vetfy 
imperfect; for it is not possible that forms of. 
prayer should be composed, that are perfectly 
suited to aU our fiBmes of spirit, and fitted to aU 
our occasions in the things of this life, and the Kfo 
to come. Our circumstances are always altering 
in this firail and mutable state. We have new sins 
to be confessed, new temptations and sorrows to be 

represented, new wants to be supplied. Evei^ 

change of Providence in the afiairs of a nation, a 
fomily, or a person, requires suitable petitions and 
acknowiedgments. And all these can never be 
well provided for in any prescribed compoffltion. I 
confess all our concerns of soul and body, may be 
included in some large and general words of a form, 
which is no more suited to pne time, or place, or 
condition, than to another : but generals are cold 
and do not affect us, nor affect persons that join 
with us, and whose case, he that speaks in prayer 
should represent before God. It is much sweeter 
to our own souls, and to our fellow worshippers, 
to have our fears and doubts, and complaints, and 
temptations, and sorrows, represented in most 
exact an4 particular expressions, in such language 
as the soul itself feels, when the words are spoken. 
Now, though we should often meet with prayers 
pk^composed that are fitted to express our present 
case ; yet the gift, of prayer is as much better than 
my foroif as a general skill in the work of preach- 


log 18 to be preferred to any precomposed f»r- 
moiift; as a perfect knowledge in the art of physic 
IB better than any number of receipts ; or, as a 
receipt to make a medicine is preferable to one 
single medicine already made. But he that binds 
himself always to read printed sermons, will not 
airive at the art of preaching : and that man who 
deals only in receipts^ shall never become a skilfid 
physician ; nor can the gift of prayer be attained by 
everlasting confinement to forms. 

Perhaps it may make stronger impressions on 
some persons, and go farther towards the cure of 
their confinement to forms, and their prejudices 
against the gift of prayer, to hear what a bishop 
of tbe church of England has said on this matter. 

"In the use of such prescript forms, to which a 
man hath been accustomed, he ought to be narrow- 
ly watchfiil over his own heart, for fear of that 
lip-service and formality, which in such cases we 

are more e65)ecially exposed unto. ^For any one 

so to sit down and satisfy himself with his prayer- 
book, or some prescript form, and to go no farther, 
were still to remain in his in&ncy, and not to grow 
up in his new creature. This would be, as if 
a man, who had once need of crutches, should 
always afterwards make use of them ; and so 
Aecesaitate himself to a continuol impotency^»<- 
Prayer, by book, is commonly of itself something 
fiat and dead, fioating, for the most part, too much 
in generalities ; and not particular enough for each 
several occasion. There is not that life and vigor 



in it, to engage tbe affections, as whea ic proceed 
immediately from the soul itself, and is the natm 
expression of those particulars, whereof we an 
most sensible. — It is not easy to express what a vas 
difference a man may find in respect of inwarc 
comfort and satisfaction, betwixt those private 
prayers that are thus conceived firom the affectiomi^ 
and those prescribed forms, which we say l^ role, 
or read out of books." — ^Bishop WUkina, in his 0^ 
of Prayer. 

II. Another extreme to be avoided by all that 
would obtain the gift or prayer is, A neglect ^ 
preparatifm Jhr prayer^ and an entire dependence en 
sudden notions and suggestions; as though we were 
to expect the perpetual impression of the Holy 
Spirit upon our minds, as the apostles and in^ired 
saints ; as though we had reason to hope for his con- 
tinual impulses, both in the matter and manner, and 
words of prayer, without any forethought, or care, 
or premeditation of our own. It is true indeed, 
that when a man hath premeditated the matter of 
his prayer, and the method of it, ever so exactly^ 
he ought not so to confine himself)^ as to neglect, or 
check any warm and pious desires that may ariw 
in his heart in the midst of the duty. But tfaia do^ 
not hindw, but that it is lawful andi proper^ bsr all 
useful means,, to endeavor in general, to lei^ &• 
holy skill of {nraying, and to prepare also by medi- 
tation, readings or holy conversation, for the p^rtio- 
tilar exercises of this gift, and the peiformaiiee of 
this duty. 

PREM£DITi.TIO|r. 75* 

Some persons imagine, that if they use no form^ 
they must always pray exlempore^ or without any 
premeditation; and are ready to think all free or 
conceived prayer is extemporary : but these thinfpi 
ought to be distinguished. 

Concevoed or Free Prayer is, when we have not 
the words of our prayer formed beforehand, to 
direct our thoughts, but we conceive the matter, or 
substance of our addresses to God, fi^ in our 
minds, and then put those conceptions into such 
words and expressions, as we think most proper. 
And this may be done by some work of meditation, 
before we begin to speak in prayer; partly with 
regard to the thoughts, and partly the expressions 

Extemporary Prayer is, when we, without any 
reflection, or meditation beforehand, address^ our- 
selTes to God, and speak the thoughts of our hearts 
as fast as we conceive them. Now this is most 
properly done in that which is called eJacuUxtory 
prayer^ when we lift up our souls to God in short 
breathings of request or thanksgiving, in the midst 
of any common afiairs of life. — But there may be 
also some other occasions for it, viz. 

1. I grant diat in gecret prayer, there is not the 
nine degree of premeditation necessary as in pub- 
lic: for there, a person takes a greater hberty ID 
express his thoughts, and the desires of his sou^ 
just as they arise within him; which may be very 
fligiuficant to awaken and maintain his own affeo- 
tions in that duty, though perhaps they would be 
rerj improper and didogreeable in public. 


2. I grant also, that persona of better natural parts, 
of lively temper, or ready expression, of great heai^ 
cnly mindedness, or such as have been long exer- 
cised and experienced in this work, are not bound 
to premeditate all the materials and method ol 
their prayer in daily worship in a family : nor are 
ministers, whose graces and talents have been weH 
improved, obliged to think over all the substance of 
every public address to God beforehand. A short 
recollection of thought may supply such persona 
with matter for those constant returns of worship. 

-Nor are Christians, who are possessed of such 
endowments, at any time bound to an equal degree 
of premeditation as others are. Bishop WtUdns 
very pertinently tells us, " The proportion of gifts 
that a man hath received, is the measure of his 
work and duty in this case.*' Yet, upon some great 
and solemn occasions, public and private, when 
seasons are set apart for prayer, a regular premedi- 
tation is very useful and advantageous to persons 
of the highest attainments. 

3. I grant farther, that there may be several calla 
of Providence, which may demand such sudden 
addresses to God, even from persons of less skiU 
and experience : and they have then reason to 
hope for more especial assistance from the Spirit oi 
Grod, while they obey the call of present and neces- 
sary duty. 

But I am ready to suspect that some persons, who 
are unskilled in praying, and yet cry out againot 
premeditation, do indulge a degree of spiritual slothi 
that secretly prevails upon them while tiiey proiees 


t» be afraid of any thing that comes near to a 

The arguments that may incline and encourage 
jounger Christians to prepare thoughts for prayev 
beforehand, are these : 

1st Argument, The common reckon of man and 

Ught of nature teach us, that an ctffair of such soleti^ 

nity and importance, which requires our utmost care 

to perform it weU, cannot be done without som^ for^ 

Vuntght. The skill of a Christian, in the inward 

exercise of grace, is to be learned and improved, by 

^urethought and diligence ; and much more in the 

esnemal performance of a religious duty. Now, if 

the light of nature leads us to it, and scripture 

nowhere forbids, why should we not pursue the 

practice ? The words of scripture seem to en^ 

courage such a premeditation, when it tells us, 

we should " not be rash with our mouths, nor 1^ 

our hearts be hasty to utter any thing before God." 

Eccl. V. 2. 

2d Argument, That the heart should be prepared 
for prayer, is certainly necessary. The preparation 
of the heart, is frequently spoken of in the word*of 
God. Now, the heart cannot be prepared for any 
act of worship, unthout some degree of premeditation. 
"W*hat is the use of reading the word of God just 
before prayer in our families? Why are we so 
often advised to recollect the sermons we hear, 
when we retire for prayer, but that by premedita- 
tion we may be better fitted with materials for this 


3d Argument. There can he no siuh iking aa 
learning to pray in a regular way without it, Tlie 
distinction of the nature of prayer into its several 
parts, adoration, confession, petition, is all useless, if 
we mudt not think beforehand. The excellent 
rules that ministers lay down to teach us to pray, 
«re mere trifling, if we must not think before-hand. 
If we may not consider what our sins are, what our 
wants, and what our mercies, before we epeak in 
prayer, there is no possibility of ever learning to 
perform this part of Christian worship, with any 
tolerable measure of decency or profit. — An utter 
aversion to thinking beforehand (whatever the pre- 
tences are] will be a most effectual bar against the 
attainment of the gifl of prayer, in any considerable 

4th Argument, Due preparation for prayer, is the 
way to serve God with our best. But for younger 
Christians, unskilled in this work, to rush always 
into the presence of God in solemn prayer, without 
due forethought, even when there is time allowed 
for it ; and to pour out words before God at all ad- 
ventures, is no sign of that high reverence which 
they owe to so awful a majesty, before whom an- 
gels veil their faces, who is jealous of his own wor- 
ship, and abhors the sacrifice of fools. 

If we utterly neglect preparation, we shall be 
ready to fall into many inconveniences. 

Sometimes we shall be constrained to make long 
and indecent stops in prayer, not knowing what ;to 
Bay next At other times we shall be in danger of 
Maying those things that are \erj YiXXXa \q xVva ^ur- 


pose, and of wandering far from our proposed 
subject and design ; which can never be acceptable 
to God. And sometimes^ when the mind is not 
regularly furnished, the natural spirits are put into 
a hurry, and we run into a confused, incoherent, 
and impertinent rhapsody of words, whereby both 
God may be dishonored, and our own edification 
and the edification of others, spoiled; while the 
Spirit of Crod stands afar ofiffrom us for a season, it 
may be on purpose to reprove our negligence of a 
wise and holy care to learn to pray. 

Some such unhappy practices as these in the last 
age, have given great ofience to the pious, and been 
a stumbling-block, and scandal to the profane. 
The wicked and profane world, have taken occfif- 
sion from hence, to throw loads of reproach on all 
conceived prayer, under the name of praying ex- 
tempore, and have endeavored to render all prayer, 
without books and forms, as odious as possible un- 
der this name. — ^The more sober and pious part of 
the church of England^ that usuaUy worship God 
by liturgies, and preoomposed forms, have been too 
ready to give ear to these reproaches, and have, by 
this mean, been confirmed in their confinement 
to liturgies and prayer books; they have been 
hardened hereby against attempting to seek the 
gift of prayer themselves, and been tempted to 
ojppose and censure those that have attained it. No 
email share of this public scandal will be found at 
the door of those few bold, ignorant, and careless 
men, who have been guilty of such rash and 




thoughtless addresses to God under a pretmce of 
praying by the Spirit. 

In opposition to this practice of premeditatioii, 
some pious and sincere Christian may say, '^ I have 
now and then meditated many things, which I de- 
signed to speak in prayer, but when I came to 
pray, I have found my thoughts enlarged beyond 
all my preparations, and carried away to dwell in 
prayer upon subjects and petitions of a very differ- 
ent kind ; and in a much more lively manner, to^ 
express my thoughts than I had before conceived.'* 
Now, I would persuade such a person to receive 
this divine assistance, not as an argument to neg-> 
lect premeditation for the future, but as a reward 
of his diligence in preparing his heart beforehand 
for this work. 

Another Christian will tell me, that sometimes, 
when he has thought over many materials for his 
prayer before, he has found a greater confusion in 
his mind, between his former preparations and his 
present suggestions, than if he had prayed in an 
extemporary way. 

In reply to this ohjedwriy 1 must confess that I 
have sometimes had the same unhappy experi- 
ence: but I impute it to one of these three de- 

Either my premeditation wa8 very alight and m- 
perfedj as to the matter or method ; so that I had 
not arranged the materials of my prayer in any 
settled form and order in my memory, but left them 
almost as much at uncertainty as new thougfals 
that might occur to n\y mind 'm ^xvjm^* And 


it is more troublesome sometimes to mend and 
finish what is veiy imperfect, than to make entirely 

Or , perhaps, my premeditation had been chiefy Iht 
work of my head, toUhout so due a consultation of the 
frame of my heart, — I had prepared my head but 
not my heart for prayer ; and then it was no won- 
der, that when the heart comes to be warmly en- 
gaged in praying, it runs |ar away from the mere 
premeditation of the head ; and sometimes, betwixt 
both, create a confusion in the mind. 

Or, it may be, my soid hath been out of frame 
and indisposed for prayer; and then I would not 
lay the fault upon premeditation, which would 
have been as bad or worse without it. 

But where my preparation, both of head and 
heart, hath been carefully and wisely managed, I 
have had several experiences of the conveniency 
and usefulness of it, especiaUy in my younger years, 
and upon some extraordinary and solemn occa- 

After all, if some particular persons have consci- 
entiously, and with due diligence, attempted this 
way, and find they always pray more usefully and 
more honorably, with more regularity and delight, 
by the mere preparation of the heart for this duty, 
ipvithout fixing the parts and mejthod of the prayer 
in their memory beforehand, they must follow 
those methods of devotion themselves, which they 
liaye fi>und most effectual to attain the best ends; 
but not forbid the use of premeditation to othexS| 
whom God hath owned and approved mxhax^v!!^ 


And let this be obeenred, that there are but a few 
Christians that attain so great a readiness and regu« 
larity in the gift of pra>er, without learning by 
premeditation ; far greater is the number of thoee, 
whose performances are very mean, for want ol 
thinking beforehand. 

Having thus endeavored to secure jou fron 
these two dang^t>us extremes, viz. a perpdm 
emyinement to forms on t^e one hand, and a n^ 
led of cdl premedUcUion on the other ; I proceed 

In the^^ of prayer^ we are to consider these fiv< 
things : T%e maUeTf the mdhodj the expressicm, ih 
voice, and the gestvre, I shall treat of each of thes 
at large. 




First, Jl w necessary to furnish ourselves unth propi 
matterj that we may be able to hold much conver, 
with God; to entertain our souls, and othei 
agreeably and devoutly in worship ; to assist tl 
exercises of our own graces, and others, by a ric 
supply of divine thoughts and desires in praye 
that we may not be forced to make too long ar 
indecent pauses, whilst we are performing th 
duty ; nor break off abruptly, as soon as we ha^ 
begun, for want of matter ; nor pour out abundan< 
of words to dress up narrow and scanty sense^ f 
want of yariet^ ojf deyoji^t thou^bis/ 


I shall, therefore, firgly propose some rules in 
ord^ to furnish ourselves with proper maUer fi>r 
prayer; and then, lay down some directions con- 
cerning these materials of prayer, with which our" 
Bouls are furnished. 
Rvles to furnish us with matter ^ are these : 
1st Rvit. Jjohw after a large acquaintance wiih 
aH Ikmgs thai bdong to religion ; — ^for there is noth- 
ing that relates to religion, but may properly make 
aome part of the matter of our prayer. — This is, 
therefbre, the most general advice, and the most 
universal rule that can be given in this case ; — let 
us daily seek after a more extensive, and a more 
affecting knowledge of God, and of ourselves ; a 
great acquaintance with God in his nature, in his 
person, in his perfections, in his works, and in his 
Word, will supply us with abundant furniture for 
invocation, adoration and praise, for thanksgiving 
and blessing ; and will suggest to us many argu- 
ments in pleading with God for mercy. An inti- 
mate acquaintance with ourselves, and a lively 
sense of our own frames of spirit, our wants, our 
sorrows, and our joys, will also supply us with 
proper thoughts for confession, for petition, and for 
giving of thanks. We should acquaint ourselves, 
therefore, with the word of God in a great degree ; 
for itjis there he reveals himself to us, and there he 
discovers us also to ourselves. Let the word of 
Christ dwell richly in you in all wisdom, that you 
nmy be furnished with petitions and praises. 

We should also be watchful observers of the 
deahngs of God with us, in every ordmoac^^ %sA 

84 M1.TTEB 01 P&1.TSR. 

in every providence, and know well the state xfi 
our own souls. We should observe the working of 
our hearts towards Grod, or towards the creature, 
and call ourselves to account often, and often ex- 
amine our temper and our life, both in our natural, 
our civil, and religious actions. For this purpose, 
83 well as upon many other accounts, it will be of 
great advantage to keep by us in writing, some of 
the most I'emarkable providences of Grod, and in- 
stances of his anger, or mercy towards us, and 
some of our most remarkable carriages towards 
him, whether sins, or duties, or the exercises of 
grace. Such observations and remarks,\ in our 
daily walking with God, will be a growing treasury 
to furnish us for petition and praise. This seems 
to be the meaning of those scriptures, where we 
read of " watching unto prayer ;" Eph. vi. 18, and 
1 Pet iv. 7. This will make us always ready to 
say something to God in prayer, both concerning 
him and concerning ourselves. Let our judgments 
be constantly well stored, and our graces and our 
affections be lively, and lead us to the duty ; and^ 
for the most part, some proper matter will naturally 
arise and flow with ease and pleasure. 

2d Rule, Let the nature of this duty of prayer^ 
as divided into its several parts, he impressed upon 
your hearts, and dwell in your memories. Let ui 
always remember that it contains in it these several 
parts of worship : namely, invocation, adoration, 
confession, petition, pleading, profession, or self- 
lesignation, thanksgiving and blessing ; which, thai 


we may retain the better in our minds, may tM 
summed up in these four lines: 

Call upon God, adore, confes^ 

Petition, plead, and then declare 
Tou are the Lord's ; give thanks, and bless, 

And let .^tnun confirm the prayer. 

And by a recollection of these several parts of 
prayer, we may be assisted to go on, step by step, 
and to improve in the gift of performance of this 
part of worship. 

It would tend also to improve the gift of prayer, 
if such persons as have time and capacity would 
set down all these parts of prayer, as common 
places, and all the observable passages that occur in 
reading the Holy Scriptures, or other authors ; or 
such passages as we hear delivered in prayer, that 
are very affecting to our souls, should be written 
down and registered under those heads. Thi« 
would preserve such thoughts and expressions in 
our memories, which have had a peculiar quicken- 
ing influence upon us. - Bishop WUkinSf in his 
Treatise of Prayer, has given us such collectioni 
of scripture ; and Mr. Henry, in a late book, has 
furnished us vnth a great many more, judiciously 
arranged under their proper subjects. 

3d Rule, Do not content yourselves merely untk 
gmierals ; but if you would be furnished with 
lai^r supplies of matter, descend to particidars 
in your confessions, petitions, and thanksgivings. 
Enter into a particular consideration of the attri- 
butes, the glories^ the graces, and the iQlallona of 


God. Express your sins, your wants and jeur 
sorrows, with a particular sense of the moumfiiJ 
circumstances that attend them; it will enlarge 
your hearts with prayer and humiliation, if you 
confess the aggravations that increase the guilt of 
your sins, viz. whether they have been committed 
against knowledge, against the warnings of con- 
science, &c. It will furnish you with large matter 
for thankfulness, if you run over the exalting and 
heightening circumstances of your mercies and 
comforts, viz. that they arte great and spiritual, 
and eternal as well as temporal: that they wer« 
granted before you sought them, or as soon as ask- 
ed, &c. And let your petitions and your thanks- 
givings, in a special manner, be suited to the place 
and circumstances of yourselves, and those that 
you pray with, and those that you pray for. 

Our burdens, our cares, our wants, and sins, are 
many ; so are our mercies, also, and our hopes ; so 
are the attributes of our God, his promises^ and his 
graces : if we open our mouths wide, he will fill 
and satisfy us with good things, according to liii 
Word. If generals were sufficient for us, one very 
iBhort form would make all others needless; it 
would be enough to express ourselves in this man- 
net to God: **0 Lord, thou art great and good, 
but we are vile sinners ; — ^give us all the mercies w^ 
stand in need of, for time and for eternity, for the 
sake of Jesus Christ ; and through him accept aU 
our thanksgivings for whatsoever we have and hope 

for. To the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, be 

eleraal glory. Amen/* 


, KATTCm or FRATEB. 87 

This 19 a most general and eomi»«hensiT« 
prayer, and includes in it every thing necessary : 
but there is no Christian can satisfy his soul to go 
firom day to day to the mercy-seat, and say nothing 
else to €rod but this. A saint in a right frame, lovei 
to pour out his soul before God in a hundred par- 
ticulars ; and Grod expects to see his children sensi- 
bly affected with their own special wants, and his 
peculiar mercies, and to take notice of the lesser, as 
wefl as of the^ more considerable circumstances of 
them. Let us not be straitened in ourselves then, 
lor the hand of God and his heart are not strait- 
ened. Our Lord Jesus bids us ask ; and promises 
**it ^all be given." Matt vii. 7, The apostle Paul 
Inds us, ^ in every thing, by prayer and supplication, 
to make known oiur requests to Crod.'* Phil. iv. 6. 
And the apostle James tells us, *'we receive not 
because we ask not." James iv. 2. " 

4th Rvle, In order to furnish our ininds with 
matter for prayer, it is very convenient at solemn 
geoMons of worship, to read some part of the word of 
Gody or some spiritual treatise written by holy men, 
or to converse with fellow Christians about divine 
tilings, or to spend some time in reeoUectien or medi- 
totioa of tlongs tb«t beloog to rehgion. This will 
Bot only furnish uS with divine matter, but will com- 
pose our thoughts to solemnity. Just before we en- 
gage in that work, we should be absent a little from 
the W(»id, that our spirits may be freer for converse 
with God ; we may borrow matter for prayer from 
the word which we read, fit)m inward reflections 
of our own souls, as well as from holy conferences { 


and many a saint has found this true, that, ** white 
hp mused, the fire humt within him." Ps. xxxix. 9. 
and while we speak to men about the afiidrs of 
reli^on and inward piety, we shall certainly find 
something to say to Grod. 

5th Rule. If we find our hearts, after all, very 
barren, and hardly know how to frame a prayer 
before God of ourselves, it has been oftentimes 
useful to take a book in our hand, wherein are contain^ 
ed some spiritual meditations, in a petitionary form, 
some devout reflections, or excellent patterns of prayer ; 
and above all, the Psalms of David, some of ihe 
prophecies of Isaiah, some chapters in the Gospels, 
or any of the Epistles. Thus, we may lift up our 
hearts to God in secret, in short requests, adorations, 
or thanksgivings, according as the verses or para- 
graphs we read are suited to the case of our own 
souls. This has obtained the name of mixed prayer; 
of which there is a farther account, under the fifth 
head of the last chapter. 

This, many Christians have experienced as a 
very agreeable help, and of great advantage in 
their secret retirement ; that when they could not 
of themselves speak a prayer to God, they could 
yet interline what they read with holy breathings 
towards Grod, with fervent petitions; and by this 
mean they have found their souls warmed, and 
oftentimes in the sight of God have performed this 
duty more agreeably, in this method, than other 
persons of a larger and more extensive gifl, with 
great furniture of matter, and much fluency of 
language. Nor mui I disapprove what Bishop 


WUJdm says concerning secret prayer ; viz. ** That 
It is not always necessary here, that a man should 
still keep on in a continued frame of speech ; but 
in private devotions a man may take a greater free- 
dom, both for his phrase and matter ; he may 
sometimes be at a stand and make a pause ; there 
may be intermissions and blank spaces in respect 
of speech, wherein by meditation he may recover 
new matter to continue in this duty." 

6th JRuZe. If you find your hearts so very dry, 
and unaffected with the things of religion, that you 
can say nothing at all to God in prayer ; that you 
have no divine matter occurs to your thoughts, go 
and faU down humbly before God, and tell him toith a 
grievous complaint^ that you can say nothing to him ; 
that you can do nothing but groan and cry before 
him: go and tell him, that without his Spirit, you 
cannot speak one expression ; that without imme- 
diate assistances from his grace, you cannot pro- 
ceed in his worship ; tell him humbly, that he must 
lose a morning or an evening sacrifice, if he conde- 
scends not to send down fire from heaven upon the 
altar. Plead with him earnestly for his own Spirit, 
if it be but in the language of sighs and tears ; beg 
that he would never suffer your heart to be so hard, 
nor your soul to be so empty of divine things : that 
he would not only now, but at all times, furnish you 
for so glorious a work as this of converse with 
himself; and God knows the mind of his oum Spirit^ 
and he hears those groanings that cannot be uttered; 
and he understands their language, when the soul 



ii, as it were, imprisoned and shut up, that it cam- 
not vent itself: our Heavenly Father ** hears the 
groans of the prisoner.'* Ps. cii. 20. And theri 
hath been glorious communion, maintained with 
God before the end of that season of worship^ 
when at the beginning of it the saint could saj 
nothing else but, Lordy I cannot pray. 

Let it be noted here, that when there is sudi a 
heaviness and deadness upon the spirit ; such a 
coldness and distraction in this worship, and such 
an averseness and reluctance in the mind, it ought 
to be a matter of humiliation, and deep self-abase- 
ment before God ; especially when at any time w© 
are sensible that it is owing to our negligence, or 
to some late guilt brought upon the conscience. 
Earnestly we should beg pardon for it, and power 
against it ; and as Bishop WUkins says, " What w© 
want in the degrees of our duty, we should be sure 
to make up in humility ; and this will be the most 
proper improvement of our failings, when we can 
strengthen ourselves by our very infirmities." 

I proceed now to lay down some directions 
concerning the matter of our prayers, how to man- 
age it right 

Direction 1, Do not think it dbsohddy necessary to 
insist upon aU the parts of prayer in every address to 
God; though in our stated and solenm prayen^ 
there are but few of them that can be well left out 
What we omit at one time, we may perhaps pursue 
at another with more lively affection, that so we 
may fulfil all our errandi at the throne of grace. 


But let UB be sure to insist most upon those things 
which are warmest in our own hearts, especialljr 
in secret ; and this is a good advice, even in social 
prajers, when those things which we are deeply 
cflTected with, are such as the company that joins 
with us may properly be concerned in too. Also, 
let those parts of prayer have the largest share in 
the performance, for which our spuit is best pre- 
pared, and with which it is most sensibly impress? 
ed at the present season, whether it be adoration, 
jpetition, confession or thanksgiving. This will not 
only furnish us with matter, but will keep our spirits 
Uvely in the work, and will be. the best means to 
affect those that join with us, and to call their 
graces into exercise. Those things, indeed, which 
our fellow-worshippers cannot be concerned in, 
are better ^ laid aside till we come to speak to Grod 

Direction 2. Suit the matter of your prayer toJJm 
tpecial occasion of each particular duty, to the cif- 
eumstances of the time, place, and persons with 
and for whom you pray. This will be another 
spring of matter, and will direct you to the choice 
of proper thoughts and language for every part of 

1. The time. If it be morning, then we adore 
God as the watchflil shepherd of Israel^ that slunv- 
foers not, nor sleeps. Then we confess our inability 
to have defended ourselves through all the hours of 
dailmess, while nature and our active powers lie, aa 
it were, useless and dead : then we give thanks to 
him^ that he hath secured us from tl\Q ^^vxvta q€ 


darkness, and given us rest in measure, and raised 
us in peace : ^ I laid me down and slept," with 
comfort ; " I awoke, for the Lord sustained me." 
Ps. iiL 5. Then we petition for divine counsel in 
all the affairs of the day, and the presence of God 
with us, through all the cares, businesses, dangers, 
and duties of it. 

In the evening we give thanks to God for the 
mefcies of the day, for which wo offered our peti- 
tions in the morning: we confess the sins and 
follies of the day, and humble our souls before 
God ; we petition for proper mercies the succeeding 
night, with expressions of adoration, confession, 
and self-resignation, suited to the time. " I will lie 
down in peace, O Lord, and sleep, for thou alone 
makest me to dwell m safety." Ps. iv. 8. 

Thus, when we pray before or after meat : thus, 
on the Lord's day, or our common days of busi- 
ness ; in a time of war or peace ; a scene of public 
or private rejoicing ; a day of trouble and humilia- 
tion : let the several expressions of our prayer, in 
the various parts of it, be suited to the particular 

2. The place and the persons. If in our secret 
retirements, then we adore God in this language : 
" O Lord God, who seest in secret, who knowest 
the way that I take, thou hast commanded that thy 
children should seek thee in their closets, and thou 
hast promised to reward them openly." Here also 
we ought to confess our more particular sins, which 
the world knows not, and pour out our whole souls 
before God, wUh great freedom and plainness : tell 


him all our follies, our infirmities, our joys, and 
sorrows ; our brightest hopes, and our most gloomy 
and dismal fears, and all the inward workings of 
our hearts, either towards himself, or towards the 
creatures. Then we converse with Grod aright in' 
prayer, when we, as it were, maintain a divine 
fiiendship with him in secret, and in our humble 
addresses hold correspondence with him as our 
kind and condescending friend. 

^When we pray in a family, the matter must be 
suited to the circumstances of the household, in 
confession of l&mily sins, petitions, and thanksgiv- 
ings, for family mercies ; — ^whether those with 
whom we live are sick or. in health ; whether they 
are in distress or in peace ; whether fixed in their 
habitations or removing ; and our language to God 
ought to be suited to this variety of conditions. 

If we pray among a select society of Christians, 
we draw near unto God with a holy boldness, 
something like what we use in our duties of secret 
won^p ; we have reason to take more freedom 
among those that are fellow-saints, and whose 
hearts have felt many of the same workings with 
our own, then, when our faith is lively, we should 
give thanks to God for our election in Christ Jesus; 
for the atonement and righteousness of the Son of 
God, in which we humbly hope we have an inter- 
est; for the enlightening and sanctifying work of 
his own Spirit upon our hearts ; for our expecta- 
tions of eternal glory : and by expressing the joyi 
of our &ith to Grod, we may often be made a mean, 


in the hands of the Holy Spirit, to raise the filill 
and joy of others. 

In public worship, or fiunily devotions, when 
saints and sinners ar& present, a minister, or i 
Christian, that speaks in prayer, should considei 
the circumstances of the whole congregation oi 
family, and plead for suitable mercies. But I thinl 
he should not be ashamed to express his faith an^ 
hope when he speaks to Grod, where there an 
many to join with him in that holy language, 
though every single hearer cannot heartily join and 
consent. Perhaps this may be a way to maki 
unconverted persons, that are present, blush and be 
ashamed, and be inwardly grieved, that they ara 
forced to leave out many of the expressions ol 
prayer used by the minister ; and are convinced in 
themselves and confounded, because they cannot 
join in the same language of faith and hope, jo} 
and thankfulness. For it is not necessary thai 
every worshipper should hft up his soul to Grod 
according to every sentence spoken in social 
prayer, but only in such as are suited to his own 
case and state, and such as he can sincerely speak 
to €rod himself. 

I Direction 3. Do not <iff€cl to pray long, for the sah 
of lengthy or to stretch out your matter by labor and 
toil of thought, beyond the fiimiture of your own 
spirit God is not the more pleased with prayeffm 
merely because they are long, nor are ChristiaDi 
ever the more edified. It is nnich better to maloi 
up by the frequency of our devotions what we 
want in the length of tbiem, vrhfiu we feel ota 


WfantB dry, and our hearts straitened. We may 
also cry to God for the aids of his own Holy Spirit, 
eren in the middle of our prayer, to carry us for- 
ward in that work: but every man isnot jfit to pray 
long. God has bestowed a variety of natural, as 
well as spiritual talents and gifts upon men ; nor is 
the best Christian, or a saint of the greatest gifbi, 
always fit for long prayers ; for hereby he may fall 
into many inconveniences. 

The inconveniences of affected length in prayer 
are these: 

1. Sometimes a person is betrayed by an afiee- 
tadon of long prayers, iido crude, rash and unseemly 
expressions in the presence of God; such as are 
unworthy of his divine Majesty, and unbecoming 
our meanness : sometimes he is forced into imperti- 
nent digressions^ and wanders away from the sulS- 
)ect in hand, till his thoughts again recover them- 
adves; and true spiritual worship is hereby hin- 
deied and corrupted. We shall rather therefore 
take the advice of Solomon upon this account, Eccl. 
¥.2. "Be not rash to utter any thing before God ; 
God 19 in heaven, and thou upon earth, therefore 
kt thy words be few." 

2. We are tempted hereby to tautoU^es ; to say 
die same things over and over again, whieh our 
Saviour highly blames. Matt. vi. 7. "When ye 

' pnty, use not vain repetitions, as the heathens do ; 
iur they think they shall be heard for their much 
i^>eaking.'' Sometimes indeed, in the midst of our 
warm affections in prayer, we are delightfully con- 
fltrained to a repetition of the same words^ t]icQU%\\ 


mere fervency of spirit : and there are instanceB o 
it in scripture : but, for the most part, our repetition 
are such as eyidence not the fervency, but ^ 
barrenness, of our minds, and the slightness of ou 

3. Again, we shall be in danger, through ai 
affectation of length, of thing those that join vfUh m 
especially when a prayer is drawn out to manj 
words, with much dulness and deadness of spirit 
and without any agreeable variety of thought ] 
confess, when the Spirit is poured in plentiful de 
grees upon men^ and upon some extracurdinar] 
occasions, persons have continued for an hour oi 
two together, with a delightful variety of matter anc 
expression, and instead of toil and labor to hold on 
they found it difficult to break off: their souls hav< 
been all the while near to Grod, and they have held 
the attention of those that joined with them, an<i 
kept their devotion warm. Our fathers have seifl 
and felt it ; but that spirit is much departed in oui 
day ; and there are seldom found amongst us any 
great lengths of prayer, vrith equal affection and 
devotion, maintained either in ourselves or others, 
through so long a duty. 

4. We are tempted also sometimes by tbic 
mean, to exceed the seaeot^ that is allotted for us in 
prayer, especially where others are to succeecT in 
the same work ; or else we intrench^ it may be 
upon other parts of worship that are to follow 
hereby some of our fellow-worshippers are made 
uneasy ; and when persons are under a necessar] 
engagement to be elsewhere by an appointed time 





or to be eogaged in other duties, the latter part of 
tfaeu: deTOtion is generally spoiled. ■ It may be re- 
marked here, that, even i/vhen Jacob wrestled with 
the angel, he was required to ^ let him go ; for it 
was break of day." Gen. xxxii. 26. As we must 
not make one duty jihrust out another ; neither 
should we manage any duty so, as to make it a 
hard task to ourselves, or a toil to others, but a 
pleasure and spiritual entertainment to both. 

5. I might add, in the last place, that by this ex- 
cessive affectation of length in prayer, without an 
equal degree of the sjiirit of prayer and lively de- 
Totiony some imprudent Christians have given too 
much occasion to the profane scoffers of the age : and 
hereby the wicked of the earth have rendered 
these methods of converse with God ridiculous 
among their own company, and have exposed and 
reproached the gifl and spirit of prayer, because of 
our irregular performance of that part of worship : 
whereas, when the Spirit of God by his own im- 
mediate and uncommon influences, draws out the 
heart to continue in prayer, these inconveniences 
will not follow. 

Therefore, while I am discouraging young Chris- 
tians ^m that affectation of long prayers, which 
arises fix)m an ostentation of their parts, from a 
superstitious hope of pleasing Grod better by saying 
many words, or fix)m a trifling frame of spirit; I 
would not have my readers imagine that the short- 
eat prayers are always the best. Our sinfUl na- 
tDies are too ready to put off Grod, in secret or Im 



tiie ftmily, with a few minutes of wonihip, fit 
mere sloth and weariness of holy things : whicl 
equally to be blamed ; for hereby we omit a p 
part of the necessary work of prayer, in confessk 
petitions, pleadings for mercy, or thanks^yii 
Nor do I think that prayer in public assembl 
should be so short, as though the only design d 
were a mere preface before the Sermon, or a be 
diction after it. Whereas, social prayer is one o 
nderable part, (if not the chief duty,) of pul 
worship; and we ought generally to continue 
long in it, as to run through the most necess 
and important purposes of a social address to 
throne of grace. Christian prudence will teach 
to determine the length of our prayers, agreea 
to the occasion and present circumstances, « 
according to the measure of our own ability 
this work. 




I PROCEED now to the second thing to be coDf 
ered in the gift of prayer, and that is, Mdhod, 

Metliod is necessary to guide ottr thoughts^ 
regvlcUe our expressions^ and dispose oj ikese» 
parts of prayer in such an order as is most easy U 
unMrstood hy those (hat join toith us, and most pn 
to exdie and maintain our oum devotion and th 
Though there is npt a necessity of the same 


md exact regularity here, as in preaching the word, 
fet a well regulated prayer is most agreeable to 
men, honorable in the sight of the worid, and not 
It all the less pleasing to God. The Spirit of God, 
nrhen he is poured out as a Spirit of prayer in 
the most glorious measures, doth not contradict 
lfa« rules of natural and reasonable method, al- 
though his methods may have infinite variety in 

Some metJiod must be used, in order to secure us 
&om confusion, that our thoughts may not be ill 
iorted, or mingled and huddled together in a 
tumultuary and unseemly manner. This will be 
of use also to prevent tautologies or repetitions of 
the same thing, when each part of prayer is dis- 
posed into its proper place : this will guard us 
against roving digressions, when we have arranged 
our thoughts into order throughout every step of 
our prayer. Our judgment infers what sort of 
matter properly and naturaUy follows that which 
we are at present speaking: so that there is no 
need to fill up any empty spaces with matter that 
is not proper, or not suited to the purpose. Those 
pei'sons that profess to pray without observing any 
method at all, if they are very acceptable and 
affecting to others in their gifl, do certainly use a 
secret and natural method, and proper connexions 
of one thing with another, though they have not 
bun down any rule to themselves for it, qg^. take 
notice of the order of their own prayers. 

The general rules of method in Sprayer, which I 
would recommend to you are these tHoxeex 

r^ *~ V» ■ t.V fcfcrf -a 


Rule 1. Let Iht general and ihe particular headi 
in prayer J be well dislingwshedf and unudbf let gene' 
rals be menUoned JurM, and particulars follow. As 
for example: in adoration^ we acknowledge that 
God is glorious in bis nature, self-sufficient and all- 
sufficient: and we mention this with the deepest 
reverence and universal abasement of soul; and 
then we descend to praise him for bis particular 
attributes of power, wisdom, goodness, &c. and 
exercise our particular graces accordingly. So in 
confession, we first acknowledge ourselves vile 
sinners, corrupt by nature, and of the same sinful 
mass with the rest of mankind, and then we con- 
fess our particular iniquities and o^r special guilt 
So in our petitions, we pray first for the churches 
of Christ all over the world, and his interest and 
bis gospel throughout the earth, and then we 
petition for the churches in this nation, in this city, 
or that particular church of Christ to which wa 

Sometimes, indeed, there is a beauty also in 
summing up all the particulars at last in one geaa^ 
lal ; as when we have praised God for his several 
perfections to the utmost of our capacity, we cry out, 
** Lord, thou art exalted above all our praises^ thou 
art altogether great and glorious." Or when we 
have confessed several particular sins, we fall down 
before God, as persons that are all over defiled and 
guilty. When we have petitioned for particular 
mercifl^ we then ask that God, who is able to do 
ibr us above what we can ask or think, that he 
would bestow all other comforts, and eveiy Uessing 


that he knows needful for us. But still this rule 
must be observed, that general and particular heads 
ought to be so distinguished, as to make our method 
of prayer natural and agreeable. 

Rule 2. Ijct {kings of the same kind, for the mast 
partj be put together in prayer. We should not run 
ftom one part to another, by starts and sudden wild 
thoughts, and then return often to the same part 
again, going backward and forward in confusion. 
This bewilders the mind of him that prays, dis- 
gusts our fellow- worshippers, and injures their 
devotion. This will lead us into vain repetitions, 
and we shall lose ourselves in the work* 

Yet I would give this limiUUion, that sometimes the 
same m/xtter may come in naturally, under tioo or three 
parts of prayer, and be properly disposed of in two 
or three places by a judicious worshipper. As the 
mention of some of the attributes of God, under 
the head of adoration, where we praise him for his 
own perfections: and under the head oi pleading 
for mercy, when we use his power, his wisdom, or 
his goodness, as an argument to enforce our peti- 
tions; and under the head of thanksgiving also, 
when we bless him for the benefits that proceed 
from his goodness, his power, or his wisdom. So 
in. the beginning of a prayer, in our invocation of 
God, we put in a sentence or two of confession of 
our unworthiness, and of petition for divine assist- 
ance. So toward the conclusion of prayer, it is not 
amiss to use a sentence or two consisting of such 
matter as may leave a suitable impression upon our 
minds^ though perhaps something oi ^<^ ^gox&s^ 


matter may have been before mentioned : as to aak 
icnrgiyeness of all the imperfections of our holy 
things: to entreat that God would hear all our 
jrequests, in the name of our Lord Jesus; to recom- 
mend our prayers into the hands of our Redeemer, 
our great High Priest, and to commit our whole 
selves to the conduct of divine grace, till we are 
Inrought safe to glory. But then all this must be 
done with such a variety of expression, and with 
such proper connexions, as will render it agreeable 
in itself, and will entertain the minds of those that 
join with us, and give them delight, rather than 
hinder their devotion. 

Rtde 3. Let those things, in every part of prayer, 
which are the proper objects of our judgment, he first 
mentioned, and then those that influence and move otir 
affections ; not that we should follow such a man- 
ner of prayer, as is more Uke preaching, as some 
imprudently have done, speaking many divine 
truths without the form or air of praying. It is a 
very improper custom, which some persons have 
taken up and indulged, when divine truths come to 
be mentioned in prayer, they run great lengths in a 
doctrinal way ; yet there is occasion frequently in 
prayer, under the several parts of it, for the recollect* 
ing of divine truths ; and these lay a proper foun- 
dation for warm and pathetical expressions to fbl* 
low. As, ^ O Lord, thou art good, and thou doel 
good; why should I continue so long, without 
partaking of thy goodness? My sins are great, and 
my iniquitiee have many aggravations; O that I 
might mourn for theai Y^efoi^ xSosi^ m secret I O 


that I could pour out my soul before tfiee in sorrow, 
because of multiplied offences !" Thus, let the lan- 
guage of afiection follow the language of our judg- 
ment; for this is the most rational and natural 

Having laid down these general rules, the begt 
particular method I can direct jou to is, that divi- 
sion of the parts of prayer mentioned in the fore- 
g(Hng chapter. I know not a more natural order of 
things than this is. To begin with invocation^ or 
calling upon God ; then proceed to cubre that Gfod 
whom we invoke, because of his various glories ; 
we are then naturally led to tlie work of cor^ession^ 
considering what little contemptible creatures we 
are in the presence of so adorable a God ; and to 
humble ourselves, because of our abounding sins, 
and our many necessities: when we have givei^ 
praise to a God of such holiness, and having spread 
our wants before God, petitions for mercy natiu^y 
follow, and pleading with such divine arguments as 
the Spirit and the word of God put into our mouths, 
should acompany our requests : after all, we resign 
oursielves into the hands of God, and express our 
self-dedication to him ; then we recollect the mer- 
cies that we have received, and out of gratitude pay 
him our tribute of honor and thanks. And as he is 
glorious in himself, and glorious in his'woikB of 
power and grace, so we bless, him, and ascrit^ 
•verlasting glory to him. 

I cannot but think it a very useful thing for 
young beginners in the work of prayer, to re- 
mtmber alJ these heads in their oideT^ \o ^^os^naA 


of their thoughts and desires before God Id 
method, proceeding regularly from one part t 
other. And as this roust needs be useful to i 
and teach us to pray in public, so sometimes ii 
secret' retirements it may not be imi>roper to pi 
the same practice. 

Yet it must be granted, there is no necesat 
confining ourselves to this, or to any other set 
thod, any more than there is of confining ours 
to a form in prayer. 

Sometimes the mind is so divinely full of 
particular part of prayer, perhaps of thanksgi 
or of setf-resignationf that high expressions of 
itude, and of devoting ourselves to God, breal 

" Lord, I am come to devote myself to thee i 
everlasting covenant: I am thine, through 
grace; and through thy grace I will be thin 
cve^." Or thus: "Blessed be thy name, O 
God Ahnighty, for thine abundant benefits, th 
my soul with the sense of them ; for thou hast 
doned all my iniquities and healed all my diset 

Sometunes, even in the beginning of pr 
when we are insisting on one of the first parts 
we receive a divine hint fi"om the Spirit of Grod 
carries away our thoughts and our whole souls 
warm affection into another part that is of a 
different kind, and that usually perhaps come 
near the conclusion : and, when the Spirit of 
thus leads us, and our souls are in a very dc 
ihune, we are not to quench the "Spirit of Ckn 
order to tie ouwelveB to aa^ ^XTvi\«^ ^i Y'kkk? 


There is no necessity' that persons of great tal- 
ents, of divine affections, of much converse with 
God, and that have attained to a good degree of this 
gift, by long exercise, should bind themselves to 
any one certain method of prayer. For we find the 
prayers recorded in holy scripture are very various 
in the order and disposition of them, as the Spirit of 
€rod and the divine affections of those saints led 
and guided them : but still there is some method 
observed, and may be traced and demonstrated. 

I am persuaded, that, if young Christians did not , 
give themselves up, in their first essays of prayer, 
to a loose and negligent habit of speaking every 
thing that comes uppermost, but attempted to learn 
this holy skill, by a recollection of the several parts 
of prayer, and disposing their thoughts into this 
method, there would be great numbers in our 
churches that would have arrived at a good degree 
of tbe gift of prayer, and be capable afterwards of 
giving a more glorious and unbounded loose to 
their souls, without breaking the rules of just and 
natural method ; apd that to the great edification of 
our churches, as well as of their own fai;nilies. 



The third thing that relates to the gift of prayer, 
ut JExpreasion, 


Though prayer be the proper work of the heart, 
yet in this present state, m secret as well as m social 
prayer, the language of the lips is an excellent aid to 
this part of worship. A person, indeed, may pray 
heartily and effectually, and yet make use of no words: 
sometimes the desires of the heart may be too big 
to be expressed, when the Spirit of God is with us 
in plentiful operations, and assists us to plead with 
sighs, and groans which cannot be uttered^ as Rom. viiL 
26. Persons that are dumb, may think over their 
wants, and raise their souls to God in longing de- 
sires, and wishes for grace, in a time of need ; nor is 
there any necessity of using language upon God's 
account ; for he knows the desires of our hearts, and 
our most secret breathings towards him. He that 
hears without cars, understands us without our 
words. Yet as language is of absolute necessity io 
social prayer, that others may join with us in our ad- 
dresses to God, so for the most part, we find it neces- 
sary in secret too. For there are few persons of sc 
steady and fixed a power of meditation, as to main- 
tain tlieir devotion warm, and to converse with Grod 
or with themselves profitably, without words. 

Expressions are useful, not only to dress om 
thoughts, but sometimes to form and shape^and per- 
fect the ideas and affections of our minds. The usf 
of words makes us doubly sensible of the things wc 
conceive ; they serve to awaken the holy passions o] 
the soul as well as to express them. Our expres- 
pions sometimes follow an^ reveal the warmer mo 
tions of the heart, and sometimes they are dictatec 
by th9 judgment, and aie a mean to Yraim the heart 


A aad exdte those holy/ motions. They fix and en- 
^\ mmi^ ^ ^^^ povrers in religion and worship, and 
M they sein^e to regulate as well as to increase our de- 
^\ votion. We are bid to " take unto us words, and 
'^1 turn to the Lord, and say unto him, take away all 
'^. iniquity, and receive us graciously." Hos. xiv. 2. 
" *j And in the Psalms of David, we often read of his 
"^1 "crying to the Lord with his voice, and .naking 
^1 supplication with his tongue," when the matter of 
**l his prayer is such, that we have abundant reason to 
*Y believe that it was performed in secret. 
'/ Here I shall first lay down some directions how to 
i attain a rich treasure of expressions in prayer : and 
* secondly, give several rules about the choice of words 
and expressions. 

The directions to att£un a treasure of expressions 
are these: 

Direction 1. Beside the general acquaintance with 
God .and with yourselves, that was prescribed under 
a former head, labor after the fresh, particular and 
livdy sense of the greatness and grace of God, and of 
your own wants and sins, and mercies, whenever you 
cdme to pray. This will furnish you with abun- 
dance of proper expressions. The passions of the 
mind, when they are moved, do mightily help the 
tongue. They fill the mouth with arguments ; they 
give a natural eloquence to those who know not any 
rules of art ; andnhey almost constrain the dumb to 
speak. There is a remarkable instance of this in 
ancient history : when Atys, the son ofCrcesusthe 
king, who was dumb firom his childhood, saw his 
fiither feady to b» slain, the violence of bis ^asaioa 




broke the bonds wherewith his tongue was 1 
and he cried out to save him. Beggars that ha^ 
pinching sense of hunger and cold, find out var 
of expressions to tell us their wants, and to pi 
for relief. Let our spiritual senses therefore be 
ways awake and lively, and our affections alui 
warm, and lead the duty ; then words will folloi 
a greater or less degree. 

Direction 2. Treasure up such expressions espec\ 
as you read in scripture^ and such as you have fo 
in other books of devotion, or such as you Y 
heard fellow-christians make use of, whereby 3 
own hearts have been sensibly moved and warn 
Those forms of speaking, that have had great ir 
ence and success upon our affections at one ti 
may probably have a like effect also at other 
sons, if so be we take care not to confine ourse 
to them constantly, lest formality and thought! 
ness should grow thereby. 

Though the limitation of ourselves to a cons 
set form of words be justly disapproved ; yet the] 
great use of serious, pious, and well composed 
terns of prayer, in order to form our express 
and furnish us with proper praying language, j 
I wislj the assistances which might be borro^ 
thence, were not as superstitiously abandoned 
some persons, as they are idolized by others. 
I suppose no persons will disapprove the ad^ 
if I desire them to remember the more affectioi 
sentences in the Psalms of David, and the c< 
plaints of Job, and other holy men, when t 
breathe out their souls to God m yi^t^\\\\^. 


These, in a nearer and more particular sense, may 
be called the words which the Holy Spirit teacheth ; 
and whenever they suit our circumstances, they will 
always be pleasing to €rod : besides, they are such 
as Christians are most acquainted with, and pious 
Bools are most affected with them. The Spirit of 
God, in praying and preaching, will oflen bless the 
use of his own language : and I^am persuaded, this is 
(me way whereby the Spirit helps our infirmities, and 
becomes a spirit of supplication in us, by suggest- 
ing to us particular passages of scripture that are 
asefiil to furnish us both with matter and expression 
m prayer. 

The most authentic judge of fine thoughts and 
language that our age has produced, assures us of 
the beauty and glory of the style of scripture, and 
particularly in this respect, that it is most proper to 
teach us how to pray. I cannot forbear transcrib- 
ing this paragraph from the Spectator, June 14, 1712. 
** It happens very well ( says he ) that the Hebrew 
idionis run into the English tongue with a particu- 
lar grace and beauty: our language has received 
innumerable elegances and improvements fi*omthat 
infusion of Hebraisms, which are derived to it out of 
the poetical passages of holy writ ; they give a force 
and energy to our expressions, warm and animate 
0ur language, and convey our thoughts ^in more 
ardent and intent phrases, thail any that are to bo 
met with in our own tongue ; there is something so 
pathetic in this kind of diction, that it often sets the 
mind in a flame, and makes our hearts bum within 
UM, How cold and dead, (saith he,) doth a prayer 


appear, that is composed in the most elegant an 
polite forms of speech, which are natural to o< 
tongue, when it is not heightened by that solemnit 
of phrase which may be drawn from the sacre 
writings ? It has been said by some of the ancient 
that if the gods were to talk with men, they woul 
speak in Plato's style ; but I think we nnay say witl 
justice, that, when mortals converse with their Crc 
ator, they cannot do it in so proper a style as tht 
of the Holy Scriptures." 

It would be of excellent use to improve us in tb 
gift of prayer, if in our daily reading the word ( 
God, we did observe what expressions were suited 1 
the several parts of this duty ; adoration, confessio 
petition, or thanksgiving ; and let them be broug] 
into our addresses to God that day. Nay, if we di 
but remember one verse every day, and fix it in 
our hearts by frequent meditation, and work it in 
our prayers morning and evening, it would in tin 
grow up to a treasure of divine sense andianguag 
fit to address our Maker upon all occurrences • 

And it has been, observed, that persons of met 
capacity, and no learning, have attained to a goc 
measure of this holy skill of prayer, merely I 
having th«r minds well furnished with words ( 
scripture; and have been able to pour out the 
hearts before God in a fluency of proper though 
and language, to the shame of those that have bee 
blessed with brighter parts, and have enjoyed tt 
advantage of a learned education. 



Yet I would lay down two cautioru about the use 
of scripture language. 

One is, That we ihmdd not affect too much to %m- 
po9e an illusive sense upon the words of scripture ; nor 
use them in our prayers in a signification very di& 
ferent from the true meaning of them. Not that I 
would utterly disallow and condemn all such illu- 
mve expressions : as for instance, that which is ire- 
quently used when we desire mercies for our souls 
and bodies, to ask the blessings of (he upper and 
the nether springs. There may be some such 
phrases used pertinently enough: the commoness 
of them also makes them something more agree- 
able ; yet if we affect to shew our wit or ingenuity, 
by seeking pretty phrases of scripture, and udng 
them in an illusive sense, very foreign to the orig- 
inal puipose of them, we shall be in danger of lead- 
ing ourselves into many mistakes in the interpreta- 
tion of scripture, and expose ourselves sometimes 
to the peril of mistaking the true sense of a text, iJy 
having frequently fixed a false meaning upon it in 
our prayers. 

Another caution in using scripture language is 
this : that we abstain fiom aU those expressions which 
are of a very dubious sense, and hard to he understood; 
if we indulge the use of such dark sentences in our 
speaking to-Grod, we might as well pray in an un« 
known tongue ; which is so much disapproved by 
the apostle, 1 Cor. xiv. 9, 14. Let not therefbrs 
the pomp and sound of any hard Hebrew names, or 
obscure phrases in scripture, allure us to be fond 
of them in social prayer, even though we ouxoiekoa 


should know the meaning of them, lest we cop- 
found the thoughts of our fellow- worshippers. 

Direction 3, Be always ready to engage in holy 
conference and divine discourse. This will teach us 
to speak of the things of Grod. Let it be your de- 
lightful practice to recollect and talk over with one 
another the sermons you have heard, the books of 
divinity you have4>een conversant with, those parts 
of the word of God you have lately read, and 
especially your own experiences of divine things. 
Hereby you will gain a large treasure of language 
to clothe your t)ious thoughts and affections. ^ 

It is a most prq/Uable practice^ after you have 
heard a sermon, to confer with some fellow-chris- 
tian that heard it too, and run over all the partic- 
ulars of it that you can retain in your memory ; 
then retire, and pray them over again ; that is, make 
them the matter and substance of your address to 
God ; plead with him to instruct you in the truths 
that were mentioned ; to incline you to perform the 
duties recommended; to mourn over and mortify 
the sins that were reproved ; to teach you to trust 
and live upon the promises and comforts proposed: 
and to wait and hope for the glories revealed in that 
sermon. Let this be done frequently afterwards, in 
the same week, if the sermon be suited to your case 
and condition of souL This will furnish you 
incredibly with riches of matter and expression for 
the great duty of prayer. 

The reason why we want expressions in prayer 
is, many times, because we use ourselves so litde 
to speak about the things of religion, and another 


worid. A man that hath but a tolerable share of 
natural parts, and no great volubility of q[)eechy 
learns to talk well upon the affairs of his own trade 
and business in the world, and scarce ever wants 
words to discourse with his dealers ; and the reason 
is, because his heart and his tongue are frequently 
engaged therein. Thus, if our affections are kept 
warm, and we use ourselves frequently to speak of 
the things of religion to men, we shall learn to ex- 
press ourselves much better about the same divine 
concerns when we come before God. 

Direction 4. Pray earnestly for the gift of utter' 
ance^ and seek the blessing of the Spirit of God wpon 
the use of proper means to obtain a treasure ofexpres" 
nonsfor prayer. The great apostle prays often for a 
freedom of speech and utterance in his ministry, ^ that 
he may speak the mystery of Christ, and make it 
manifest so as he ought to speaks" Col. iii. 4. So the 
gift of utterance in prayer is a very fit request to be 
made to God for the advantage of our own souls 
and those that join with us. The wise man tells us, 
in Prov. xvi. 1. " That the preparation of the heart 
IB aian, and the answer df the tongue is from the 
Lord. " Let us pray then, that when God hath 
pi^mred oiu- heart for his worship, he would also 
teach oiur tongue to answer the thoughts and desires 
of the heart, and to exparess them in words suitable, 
and aii^swering to all our inward ^iritual affections. 
A happy variety of expression, and holy oratory in 
prayer, is one of these ^good and perfect gifts that 
eonoe from above, from God, the Father of lights 
ind knowJed^'^ James L 17. 





The n/{f about the choice and use of proper cp- 
prtBSums in prayer are these : 

Rvie 1. Choose ^se expressions that best suU your 
meaning, that most exactly answer the ideas of your 
mindy and are fitted to your sense and apprehension 
c^ things. For the design of prayer is to tell Grod 
the inward thoughts of your heart ; if you e^»eak 
therefore what is not in the heart, though the words 
be ever so fine and pathetical, it is but a mere 
mockery of Grod. Let your tongues be the true 
interpreters of your minds. — When our souls are 
filled with a lively impression of some of the attri- 
butes or works of God ; when our hearts are over- 
powered with a sense of our own guilt and un- 
worthiness, or big with some important request; 
O what a blessed pleasure it is to hit upon a happy 
expression, that speaks our very soul, and fulfils all 
our meaning ! and what a pleasure doth it convey to 
all that join with us, who have their spiritual senses 
exercised ! and it helps to excite in them the same 
devotion that dictated to us the words we speak : 
the royal preacher, in EccL xii. 10, '* Sought out and 
gave good heed to find, and to set in order accepta- 
ble words " in his sermons, that they might be '^as 
goads and nails fiistened by the master of assen> 
blies : " that is, that ibey might leave a strong and 
lasting impression on those that hear; that bj 
piercing deep into the heart as goads, they might 
be fixed as nails. And there is the same reason 
for the choice of proper words in prayer. 

Hide fL Use such a way qf speaking <u may If 
most nahtrdl and eas^ to ht wad«r8U»od) wd most 


agreeahh^io those that join with you. The apostle 
gives this direction to the Corinthians, concerning 
their public worship ; "Except ye utter, by the 
tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it 
be known what is spoken? for you shall speak 
into the air." 1 Cor. xiv. 9. Avoid, therefore, all 
foreign and uncommon woids,. which are borrowed 
from other languages, and not sufficiently natural- 
ized, or which are old and worn out of use. Avoid 
those expressions which are too philosophical, and 
those which savor too much of mystical divinity. 
Avoid a long train of dark metaphors, or of ex- 
pressions that are used only by some particular 
violent party men. Avoid length and obscurity in 
your sentences, and in the placing of your words ; 
and not interline your expressions with too many 
parentheses f which cloud and entangle the sense. 

And here I beg leave to give one or two instarices 
of each of these improper methods of speaking ; not 
that I ever heard these very phrases used by any 
ministers or private Christians in prayer. But, as 
vices of the life are rendered most hateful, and are 
best cured or prevented by seeing them represented 
in their plainest and most odious colors; so the 
vices of speech, and improprieties of expression 
are best avoided by a plain representation of them 
in their own complete deformity. This will deter 
us fh>m coming near them, and make us watchful 
against all those forms of speaking that border upon 
these follies. And indeed, without giving examples 
of each of these faults, I know not how to make 


the unlearned Christian understand the things ha 
ought to avoid. 

By uncommon words I mean such as are either 
loo new, or too old for common use. 

Old and obsolete words are such as these; we do 
thee to wit, for we acquaint thee. Leasing, for lying. 
A gin, for a snare. Some such words as these y^ 
stand in our translation of the Bible ; many of these 
you may find in the old translation of the Psalms, 
in the Common Prayer book, and in the metre of 
Hopkins and Stemhold ; which might be proper in 
the age when they were written, but are noW 
grown into contempt 

J^ew words are, for the most part, borrowed from 
foreign languages, and should not be used in social 
prayer, till they are grown so common, that there 
appears no difficulty to the hearers, nor affectation 
in the speaker. Such as these, which have a 
French original: Thou, O Lord, art our dernier 
resort ; i. e. our last refuge. The whole world is but 
one great machine, managed by thy puissance ; i, e. 
an engine managed by thy power. fVe are chagrin" 
ed because of the hurries' and tentations of the malign 
spirit; i. e. we are vexed and grown uneasy by 
reason of the temptations of the devil. Or these, 
which are borrowed from the Latin: "The beatific 
splendors of thy face irradiate the celestial region, 
and felicitate the saints : there are the most exube* 
rant profusions of thy grace, and the sempiternal 
effiux of thy gloiy." 

By Philosophical expressions, I intend such as are 
taught in the academVcal 8aUqqA»> m ocder to give 


I leamed men a shorter and more compreheoaive 
knowledge of things, or to distinguish nicely be- 
tween ideas, that are in danger of being mistaken 
without such distinction. As for example, it is not 
proper to say to God in public prayer—" Thou art 
hypostatically three and essentially one. By the 
plenitude and perfection in thine essence, thou art 
self-sufficient for thine own existence and beati- 
tade ; who in an incomplex manner eminently, 
; though not formally, includest all the infinite/vaiiety 
of complex ideas that are found among the crea* 
tures." Such language as this may be indulged 
perhaps in secret, by a man that uses himself to 
meditate under these forms ; but his less informed 
fellow-Christians would no more be edihed by 
them, than by praying in an unknown tongue. 

By the language of mystical divinity, I mean such 
incomprehensible sort of phrases, as a sect of di- 
vines among the Papists have used, and some few 
Protestants too nearly imitated. Such are, " of the 
deiform fund of the soul, the superessential life, of 
singing a hymn in silence ; that God is an abyss* of 
light, a circle whose centre is everywhere, and 
his circumference nowhere: that hell is the dark 
world made up of spiritual sulphur, and other in- 
gredients not united or harmonized, and without 
that pure balsamic oil that flows fix>m the heart of 
God." These are great swelling words of vanity, 
that captivate silly people into captures, by the 
mere sound without sense. > 

By running long mekqihorSf I mean the pursuing 
of nmilitude or metaphor, and Btrammf^ «o €kx^ ^\ 


to hijure the doctrines of religion, tyy a fiJse sense, 
or very improper expressions/ Such was the lan- 
guage of a foolish writer, who bids us ^ give our 
hearts to the Lord, cut them with the knife of 
contrition, take out the blood of your sins by 
confessioD, afterwards wash it with sanctification,'' 

By sentences that savor too much of party zed, 
I mean such as would 1)e useless, if not offensive to 
Christians of different judgments, that join with us 
in prayer ; we should not in our prayers too much 
insist on the corruptions of doctrine and worship 
in any church, when some of that communion join 
with us ; nor of the infant's interest in the covenant 
of grace, and baptism the first seal of it, when 
Baptists are worshipping with us together. Our 
prayers should not savor of anger and uncharita- 
bleness ; for we are bid " to lift up holy hands 
without wrath." 1 Tim. ii. 8. 

When I recommend such expressions as are 
easy to be understood, it is evident that you should 
avoid long and entangled sentences, and place your 
thoughts and words in such an order as the heart 
of the hearers may be able to receive an(J join in 
the worship, as fast as their ears receive the words : 
as in all our conversations, and conferences, and 
discourses, we should labor to make every thing we 
say to be understood immediately : so especially in 
prayer, where ^e affections should be moved, 
which cannot well be done If the judgment must 
take much jMiins to understand the meaning of 
what is sai 1 


Ride S. Let yow Umguage ht grant and deeeni ; 
ttkUh 18 a medkun between magnificence and mean- 
JM8, Let it be plain, but not coarse. Let it be 
dean, but not at all lofty and glittering. Job speaks 
of *^ choosing his words to reason with Grod." Job 
ix. 14 Some words are choice and beautiful, oth- 
ers are unseemly and disagreeable. Have ^ care of 
«U wild, irregular, and vain expressions, that are 
unsuited to .so solemn a part of wonship. The best 
direction I can give you in this case is, to make use 
of such language as you generally use in your seri- 
ous discourses upon religious subjects, when you 
confer with one another about the things of Grod. 
For then the mind is composed to gravity, and the 
tongue should answer and interpret the mind. The 
language of a Christian in prayer, is the clothing of 
his thoughts, or the dress of the soul ; and it should 
be composed like the dress of his body, decent and 
neat, but not pompous nor gaudy ; simple and plain, 
bat not careless, uncleanly, or rude. 

Ayoid, therefore, glittering language and effected 
tibfle. When you address God in worship, it is a 
fimk to be ever borrowing phrases j&om the theatra 
md pro&ne poets. This does not seem to be the 
language of Canaan. Many of their expressions are 
too light, and wild, and aiiy, for so awful a duty. 
hn excessive fondness of elegance, and finery of 
ayle in prayer, discovers the same pride and vanity ^ 
)f XDind, as an affectation of many jewels and fine € 
ipparel in the house of God ; it betrays us into neg- ^ 
eet of our hearts, and of experimental religion, by 
in afiTectation to make the nicest speech^ and say 

ISO KXpmxssiON nr pbatkk. 

die fineit tfaingB we can, instead of aneere 
tioDy and praying in die sfnrit. Beaidefl^ if n 
deal in lofty phrases, scripture itself suffi 
abounds with them ; and these are the mo9t 
able to God, and most affecting to his own ] 
Avoid mean and coarse^ and too famUiar 
mons; such as excite any contemptible or ridi 
ideas ; and such as raise any improper or in 
dioughts in the mind, or base and improper i 
— ^fbr these much injure the devotion of our 
worshippers. And it is very culpable negligi 
qieak to God in such a rude and unseemly i 
as would ill become us in the presence of c 
low-creatures, when we address ourselves to 
not but that Grod hears the language of the n 
aoul in secret, though he is not capable of e: 
ing himself with all the decencies that are to 
sired ; yet it is certain, that we ought to seek 
nish ourselves with becoming methods of < 
sion, that so our performance of this duty n 
rendered pleasing to those i/fith whom we wo 
and there is no necessity for being rough anc 
wly, in order to be sincere. Some have 
guilty of great indecencies, and exposed relij 
pro&ne scofSs, by a too familiar mention 
name of Christ, and by irreverent freedoms 
they speak to CkNL I cannot <q>prove c 
phrases of ^rolling upon Christ, of swimming 
Christ to dry land, of taking a lease of Chi 
all eternity." I think we may fulfil that con 
of coming boldly to the throne of grace iff 
fuch languagei that can hardly be justified 



rudemem and immodesty. Persons are sometunee 
in danger ^of indecencies, in borrowing mean and 
trwial or uneUanfy nmUiiudes ; tbey rake all the rins 
of kwthsomenesR to fetch metaphors for their sins, 
and praying for the coming of Christ ; they fM t^ 
Hke heavens like an old cloak, and^shovd dcofs out qf 
Ijbe way. By these few instances you may learn 
what to avoid ; and remember that words as wdl aa 
things, grow old and uncomely ; and some exprea> 
sions that might appear decent threescore years 
ago, would be highly improper and offenare to the 
tKB of the present age. It is, therefore, no suffi- 
cient apology for these phrases, that men of great 
learning and most eminent piety have made use of 

Rule 4. Seek after those ways of expression, that 
^art pathetical: such as denote the fervency of affes- 
UoUy and carry life and spirit with them: 'such as 
may awaken and exercise our love, our hope, our 
holy joy, our sorrow, our fear, and our faith, as well 
as express the activity of those graces. This is the 
way to raise, assist, and maintain devotion. We 
should therefore avoid such a sort of style as looks 
more like preaching, which some persons that 
afl^t long prayers, have been guilty of to a great 
degree. They have been speaking to the people, 
and teaching them the doctrines of religion, and 
the mind and will of God, rather than speaking to 
Qod the desires of their own minds. They have 
wandered away from God to preach to men. But 
this i» quite contraiy to the nature of prayer ; for 


prayer is our own addreis to God, dedaring our 
iienae of divine things^ and pouring out our. hearif 
before him with warm and proper affections. And 
there are several modes of expression that promote 
this end. As, 

L Exdamaiiims, which serve to set forth aa 
affectionate wonder, a sudden surprise, or violent 
impression of any thing on the mind. ^O how 
great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for 
them that fear thee ! " Ps. Ixxxi. 19. '^ How pre- 
cious are thy thoughts to me, O God ; how great 
is the sum of them ! " Ps. cxxxix. 17, ** O wretch- 
ed man that I am ! who shall deliver me ? " Bom. 
vii, 24. 

2. Interrogations, when the plain sense of any 
thing we declare unto Grod is turned into a ques- 
tion, to make it more empbatical and affecting. 
"Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? Whither 
shall I flee from thy presence? — Do I not hate 
them that hate thee ? " Ps. cxxxix. 7. 21. " Who 
shall deliver me from the body of this death?" 
Rom. vii. 24. 

3. ApptaiU to Godf concerning our own wants or 
sorrows, our sincere and deep sense of the things 
we speak to him. " Lord, thou knowest all things; 
thou knowest that I love thee." John, xxi. 17. So 
David appeals to God. Ps* Ixix. 5. " My sins are not 
hid from thee." Ps. Ivi. 8. " Thou tellest all our 
travels, or our wanderings ; are not my tears in tfajr 
book?" Job, X. 7. Thou knowest that I am not 
wicked ; my witness is in heaven, and my record is 
on hJlgh.** Job, itvL 19. 


4. ExpeHtdatumSf which are indeed one partic- 
ular sort of interrogationa, and are fit to expreae not 
only deep dejectiona of the mind, but to enforce 
any argument that is used in pleading with God, 
mdier for mercy for his saints, or the destruction of 
his enemies. ^ Look down from heaven, behold 
fiom the habitation of tliy holiness and of thy glo- 
ry, where is thy zeal and thy strength ? Th# 
sounding of thy bowels and thy mercies towards 
me, are they restrained ? O Lord, why hast thoa 
made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our 
hearts from thy fear?" Isa. Ixiii. 15. 17. ^ Awake, 
awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord : Art 
not thou it that hath cut Rahab and wounded the 
dragon ? Art thou not it that hath dried the sea, 
the waters of the great deep ? " Isa. li. 9, 10. " Will 
the Lord cast off forever, and will he be favorable 
no more ? " Ps. Ixxvii. 8. " O Lord Grod of hosts, 
how long wik thou be angry?'* Ps. brxx. 4. 
"Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and forgettesi 
our affliction ? " Ps. xliv. 24 God invites his peo- 
ple thus to argue with him. ^ Come, now, let us 
reason together, saith the Lord." Isa. i. 18. And 
hdy men, in humble and reverent expostulations, 
fasTS, with many reasons, pleaded their cause be- 
fisre God ; and their words are recorded as oup 

6, Options or totshes^ fit to set forth serious and 
earnest desires. " O that I mi^t hate my re- 
qjoest!" Job, vi. 8. "O that my ways were di- 
rected to keep thy statutes ! " Ps. ^xix. 5. 


. 6, Jlpoitrophes ; that is, when in the midst of 
our addrewes to God, we turn off the qpeech ab- 
ruptly to our own soulff, being led by the Tdbe- 
mence of aome sudden devout thought. So David, 
in the beginning of Psalm xvi. ^ Preserve me, O 
God ; for in thee do I put my trust. O my soul, 
thou hast said to the Lord, thou art my Lord," &c. 
In meditations, psalms, hymns, or other devotional 
compositions, these apostrophes may be longer and 
more frequent : but in prayer they should be veiy 
short, except when the speech is turned from one 
person of the blessed Trinity to another. Thus : — 
'^Great God, hast thou not promised, that thy Son 
shall have the heathen for his inheritance, and that 
he should rule the nations? Blessed Jesus, how 
long ere thou assumest this kingdom ? When wilt 
thou send thy Spirit to enlighten and convert the 
world ? When, O eternal Spirit, wilt thou come 
and^shed abroad thy hght and thy grace, through 
all tlie earth?" 

7 IngemiruUions, or redoubling our expressions, 
which argue an eager and inflamed affection. ^ O 
Lord God, to whom vengeance belongeth, O God 
to whom vengeance belongeth, show thyselE" Ps.. 
xciv. 1, 2. "My soul waits for the Lord more than 
they that watch for the morning; I say, m(»e 
than they that watch for the morning." Ps. cxxx. 
OL And the conclusion of Ps. Ixxii. is, " Blessed 
bo the Lord forevermore, amen and amen." But 
here let us take care to distinguish between thoao 
repetitions that arise from real fervency of spirit, 
mJ those that are used merely to lengthen out a 


prajrer, or that arise from mere barrenness of heart, 
and want of matter. It is far better, at least in 
public prayer, to yield to our present indispontion, 
and shorten the duty, than to fill up our time with 
constant repetitions : such as, '*0 Lord, our ^ God, 
if it be thy blessed will, we entreat thee, we be- 
seech thee, O Lord, have mercy upon us." For 
though some of these expressions may be properly 
enough repeated several times in a prayer, >et fill- 
ing up every empty ^pace, and stretching out al- 
most every sentence with them, is not agreeable to 
our fellow-worshippersy nor an ornament, nor a 
help to our devotion, or tljeirs. 

12ii/e 5. Do not always confine yourselves to one 
set form of words, to express any particular request^ 
nor take too. much pains to avoid an expression, merely 
because you have used it in prayer heretofore. Be not 
over fond of a nice uniformity of words, nor of 
perpetual diversity of expression in every prayer. 
It is best to keep the middle, between these two 
extremes. We should seek indeed to be furnished 
with a rich variety of holy language, that our 
prayers may always have something new, and 
something entertaining in them, and not tie our- 
selves to express one thing always in one set of 
words, lest this make us grow formal and dull, and 
indifferent in those petitions. But, on the other 
hand, if we are guihy of a perpetual affectation of 
new words, which we never before used, we shall ^ 
sometimes miss our own best and most spiritual 
meanings, and many times be driven to great uor 
propriety of speech ; and at best, out ^wj^xc^ \j^p 


this mean, will look like the fruit of our ftncj 
and inventioD, and labor of the head, more than the 
breathings of the heart The imitation of those 
Christians and ministera, that have the best giils, 
will be an excellent direction in this, as well as in 
the former cases. 



The fourth thing to be considered in the gift of 
prayer, is the voice. 

Though the beauty of our expressions, and the 
tuneableness of our voice, can never render our 
worship more acceptable to God, the infinite Spirit ; 
yet our natures, being composed of flesh and spirit, 
may be assisted in worship by the harmony of the 
voice of him that speaks. Should the matter, 
method, and expressions, be ever so well chosen in 
prayer, yet it is possible for the voice to spoil the 
pleasiu'e, and injure the devotion of our fellow- 
worshippers. When speeches of the best coihpo- 
8ure, and the warmest language, are recited in a 
cold, harsh, or ungrateful way, the beauty of them 
]8 almost lost 

Some persons, by nature, have a very sweet and 
tuneful voice, that whatsoever they speak appears 
pleasing. Others must take much more pains, and 
attend with diligence to rules and directions, that 
their voice may be formed to q^tl Qi^gcee&ble pronun- 

VOICS IN P&Al^B. 137 

ciadon ; for we find, by sad experience, dwt all the 
advantages that nature can obtaui, or apply, to 
afwt our devotions, are all little enough to keep our 
h<9arts fi*om wandering, and to maintain delight : al 
least, it is a necessary duty to know and avoid 
those disagreeable ways of pronunciation, that 
may rather disgust than edify such as Jbin with us. 

I confess, in secret prayer, there is no necessity 
of a voice ; for God hears a whisper, as well as a 
sigh and a groan. Yet some Christians cannot 
pray with any advantage to themselves, without the 
use of a voice in some degree ; nor can I judge it 
at all improper, but radier preferable, so that you 
have a convenient place for secresy: for hereby 
you will not only excite your own affections the 
more, but by practice in secret, if you take due care 
of your voice there, you may also learn to speak in 
public the better. 

The great and general rule I would lay down £ar 
managing the voice in prayer, is this : Let us use 
M same voice wiih which we usually apeak in grans 
and serious conversation, especially upon patheHeal 
and affecting subjects. This is the best direction 
that I know, to regulate the sound as well as the 
Words. Our own native and common voice ap- 
pears most i^atural, and may be managed with the 
. greatest ease.^ And some persons have taken occa- 
sion to ridicule our worship, and to censure us as 
hypocrites, when we fondly seek and affect any 
new and different sort of sounds or voices in our 



The particular dxrediom are such as theiie : 

Direction 1. Ld your teords be aU pronounctt/ 
dittincUy, and DOt made shorter by cutting off the' 
last syllable ; Dor longer by the addition of hems 
and Oh's ; of long breaths, affected groanings, and 
useless sounds ; of coughing or spitting, &c. which 
some have heretofore been guilty of, and have suffi- 
ciently disgraced religion. 

If you cut off and lose the last syllable of your 
word, or mumble the last words of the sentence, 
and sink in your voice, so that others cannot hear^ 
they will be ready to think it is because yoa 
did not speak properly, and so were afiraid to b» 

If, on the other hand, you lengthen out your 
sentences with ridiculous sounds, you endanger the 
devotion even of the wisest and best of your 
fellow- worshippers, and eipose the worship to the 
pro&ne raillery of idle and corrupt fancies. While 
you seem to be designing to rub off the roughness 
of your throat, or to express greater affection by 
such methods, others will suspect that it is a meth- 
od only to prolong your sentences, to stretch your 
prayers to an affected length, and to recover your 
thoughts what to say next Therefore, when your 
passions happen to be elevated with some lively 
expression in prayer, and you are delightfully con- 
strained to dwell upon it ; or when you meditate to 
eptek the next sentence with propriety, it is fior 
better to make a long pause, and keep a decent 
silence, than to &11 intosuch indecencies of sound. 


IHnelion 2. Ld every sentence he spoken Umd 
tnouf^ to he heard, yet none so loud as to affright or 
offend the ear, Between-these two extremes thera 
IS a great variety of degrees in sound, sufficient to 
answer all the changes of our affections, and the 
different sense of every pmt of our prayer. In the 
beginning of prayer especially, a lower voice is 
more becoming, both as it bespeaks humility and 
reverence, when we enter into the presence of 
God ; and as it is also a great convenience to the 
<»g!ms of speech not to rise too high at firet; for 
it is much harder to sink again afterwards, than to 
rise to higher accents, if need requires. Some 
persons have got a habit of beginning their prayers, 
and even upon the most common family occasions, 
80 loud as to startle the company ; others begin so 
low in a large assembly, that it looks like secret 
worship, and as though they forbid those that are 
present to join vtrith them. Botb these extremes 
are to be avoided with prudence and moderation. 

IHrection 3. Observe a due medium hettoeen e»» 
eesswe swiftness and slowness of speech ; for both are 
fisutty in their kind. 

If you are too swift, your words will be hurried 
on, and will, as it were, intrude upon one another, 
and be rningled in confusion. It is necessary, 
therefore, to observe a due distance between your 
words, and a much greater distance between your 
SMitences, that so all may be pronounced distinctly 
and intelligibly. 

Due and proper pauses and stops will give tb» 
hearer time to conceive and reject on y<Vi^ ^^>9k 


wpmk^ and more heartily to join with, you, as well 
as give you leave to breathe, and make the woik 
DMMre easy and pleasant to youreeWea. Beaidn^ 
when persons nin on heedlessly with an inceasant 
flow of words, being carried, as it were, in a yiotent 
stream, without rests or pauses, they are in danger 
of uttering things rashly before God ; giving do 
time at all to their own meditation, but indulging 
their tongue to run sometimes too fast for their own 
thoughts, as well as for the affections of such as are 
present with them. And hence it comes to pa8e» 
that some persons have begun a sentence in prayer, 
and been forced to break off, and begin anew : or 
if they have pursued that sentence, it has been 
with so much inconsistency, that it could hardly be 
reduced to sense or grammar ; which has given too 
sensible an occasion to others to ridicule all con- 
ceived prayer, and has been very dishonorable to 
Grod and his worship. All this arises from a hurry 
of the tongue into the middle of a sentence, before 
the mind has conceived the full and complete sense 
of it 

On the othar hand, if you are too slow, and very 
sensibly ,and remarkably so, this will also grow 
tiresome to the hearers, while they have done with 
the sentence you spoke last, and wait in pain and 
long for the next expression, to exercise their 
thoughts and carry on their devotion. This will 
make your worship appear heavy and dull. Yet I 
must needs say, that an error on this hand in prayer 
if to be preferred before an e^^cess of speed and 


luiny, and its consequenceB are leas hurtfiil to 

In genera], with regard to the two foregoing di- 
nedona, Let the stinse of each sentence he a nde to 
gmde your voice^ uhelher it must be high or low, iwift 
vlemardy. In the invocation of God, in humble 
adoration, in confession of sin, and self-resignation, 
a slower and a more modest voice iS) for the moat 
part, very becoming, as well as in every other part 
if prayer, where there is nothing v^ry pathetical 
aipreaaed. But in petitions, in pleadings, and 
linnksgivingB, and rejoicings in Grod, fervency and 
impormnity, holy joy and triumph, will raise the 
loiee some degrees higher ; and hvely passions of 
the delightful kind will naturally draw out our hm- 
goage vnth greater speed and spirit 

Direction 4. Let proper accekts he pvt accordi g 
01 the sense requires. It would be endless to give 
IMuticular rules how to place our accents ; nature 
dictates this to every man, if he will but attend to 
the dictates of nature. Yet, in order to attain it in 
greater perfibction, and to secure us from irregu- 
lanty in this point, let us avoid these few things 
following : 

1. Aooid a constant uniformity of voice ; that is, 
when every word and sentence are spoken without 
any difference of sound; — like a boy at school, 
repeating all his lesson in one dull tone: which 
ahows that he is not truly acquainted with the sense 
and value of the author. Now, though persons 
may be truly sincere and devout, who speak with* 
out any difference of accent, yet such a pronuncia-. 


tion will appear to others as careless and negligent, 
as though tlie person that speaks were unconeemed 
about the great work in which he is engaged, and 
as though he had none of his affections moved, 
whereby his voice might be modulated into agree- 
able changes. 

' 2, AoM a vicious disposition of ihit accents^ and 
fidse pronunciation. 

As for instance ; it is ^ vidotis pronunciatient 
when a person uses just the same set of acc«it% 
and repeats the same set of sounds and cadences 
in every sentence, though his sentences are ever so 
different as to the sense, as to the length, or as to 
the warmth of expi'ession : as if a man should be- 
gin every sentence in prayer with a high voice, and 
end it in a low ; or begin each line with a hoarse 
and deep bass, and end it with a shrill and sharp 
sound. This is as if a musician should have but 
one sort of tune, or one single set of notes, and 
repeat it over again in every line of a song ; which 
could never be graceful. 

Another instance of false pronunciation is, when 
strong accents are put upon little words and parti- 
cles, which bear no great force in the sentence. 
And some persons are so unhappy, that those little 
words, they and that, and of and by, shall have the 
biggest force of the voice bestowed upon them, 
whilst the phrases and expressions of chief signifi- 
cation are spoken with a cold and low voice. 

Another instance of false pronunciation is, when 

a calm, plain sentence, wherein there is nothing 

^ttthetical, is delivered mtb. muc^Vv fotce and vio* 


knee of speech ; or when tfae most pathetical and 
•fieetkniate expresnons are 8poken with the utmost 
calmness and composure of voice. All which are 
Terj unnatural in themselves, and to he avoided bj 
diose that would speak properly, to the edification 
of such as worship with them. 

The last instance I shall mention of false prommr 
datum is, when we fall into a musical turn of voice, 
as though we were singing instead of praying. 
Some devout souls have been betrayed into such a 
self-pleasing tone, by the warmth of their spirits in 
secret worship : and having none to hear, and in- 
form them how disagreeable it is to others, have 
indulged it even to an incurable habit. 

3. Jltoid a f(md and excessive humoring of every 
word and sentence to extremes, as if you were upon a 
stage in a theatre; which fault, also, some serious 
persons have fallen into for wsint of caution. And 
it hath appeared so like affectation, that it hath 
given great ground for censure. As for instance : 

If we should express every humble and mourn- 
ful sentence in a weeping tone, and with our voice 
personate a person that is actually crying ; that is, 
what our adversaries have exposed by the name of 
eanting and whining; and have thrown it upon a 
whole party for the sake of the imprudence of a 

Another instance of this excessive affectation is^ 
when, vre express every pleasurable sentence in 
OUT prayers, every promise of comfort, eveiy joy or 
hope, in too free and airy a manner, with too hold 
an exultation, or with a broad smile ; which indeed 


loc^t like too familiar a dealing -with the grm 
God. Evexy odd and unpleasing tone idioiild bi 
banished from divine worship ; nor should we ap* 
pear before God in humility upon our kneea^ witfa 
grandeur and magnificence upon our tongoesi ksl 
the sound of our voice should contradict our ges* 
ture ; lest it should savor of irreverence in bo aw- 
fill a presence, and give disgust to those that hear tis; 



We proceed now to the 'fiflh and last thing con- 
siderable in the gifl of prayer ; and that is, g«f- 

And though it may not so properly be termed a 
part of the gifl, yet inasmuch as it belongs to the 
outward performance of tliis piece of worship, I 
cannot think it improper to treat a Uttle of it in this 

Since we are conlmanded to pray always, and at 
all seasons, there can be no posture of the body unfit 
for short ejaculations and pious breathings toijrarda 
Crod ; while we lie in our beds, while we sit at our 
tables, or are taking our rest in any methods of xe- 
fireshment, our souls may go o!it towards our 
Heavenly Father, and have sweet conv^nse with 
him in short prayers. And to this we must r^er 
that passage, 1 Chron. xvii. 16. concerning David, 
'whssniX is said, " He sat before the Lord, and said, 


Lcxrdf who am I, or what is my house, that thon 
hast brought me hitherto?" But when we draw 
near to God in special seasons of worship, the work 
•T prayer calls for a greater solemnity, and in eyeiy 
thuiff that relates to it we ought to compose our- 
•dvea to greater reverence, that we may worship 
God with our bodies, as well as with our spirits, 
and pay him devolion with our whole natures. 1 
Cor. vi. 20. 

In our discourse concerning the gestures fit for 
worship, we shall consider, first, the posture of the 
whole body ; and secondly^ of the particular parts of 
it: and endeavor to secure you against indecencies 
in either of them. 

1. Thc^ae posttares of the body, which the light of 
nature and rule of scripture seem to dictate as most 
proper for prayer, are, standing, kneeling, or proS" 

Prostration is sometimes used in secret prayer, 
when a person is under a deep and uncommon 
•ense of sin, and falls flat upon his face before 
Qodf and pours out -his soul before him, under the 
influence of such thoughts, and the working of 
anck graces, as produce very uncommon expres- 
■008 of humiliation and self-abasement This we 
find in scripture made use of upon many occasions; 
as^ Abraham fell on his face before Grod. Gen. zviL 
dL and Joshua before the Lord Jesus Christ, the 
CSaptain of the host of God. Josh. v. 14. So Moses, 
Esekiel and Daniel, at other seasons: so in the 
New Testament, when John fell at the f^et of the 
tfngel to worship him, suppoong it had be«a qmk 


Lord. Rev. xiz. 10. And who could choo«e but 
fidl down to the dust at the presence of Grod him- 


I Kneding is the most frequent posture used in tiui 
worship ; and nature seems to dictate and lead us to 
it as an exfiression of humility, or a sense of our 
wants ; a supplication for mercy and adoration o( 
and a dependence upon, him before whom we 
kneel. This posture has been practised in all ages^ 
and in all nations, even where the light of the 
scripture never shone ; and, if it might be bad vnth 
conveniency, would certainly be a most agreeable 
posture for the worship of God, in public assem- 
blies, as well as in private families, or in our secret 
chambers. — ^There are so many instances and direc- 
tions for this posture in scripture, that it would be 
useless to take pains to prove it So Solomon, 2 
Chron. vi. 13. Ezra, Ezr. ix. 5. Daniel, Dan. vi. 
10. Christ himself, Luke xxii. 41. Paul, Acts xx. 36^ 
and xxi. 5. Eph. iii. 14. 

In the last place, standing is a posture not unik 
for this worship, especially in places where we 
have not conveniency for the humbler gestures. 
For as standing up before a person whom we 
respect and reverence is a token of that esteem and 
honor which we pay him ; so standing before God, 
where we have not conveniencies of kneeling, is 
an agreeable testification of our high esteem of him 
whom we then address and worship. There are 
instances of this gesture in the word of God. Our 
Saviour says to his disciples, ** When ye stand praj- 
iDg.^Msak xi. 25. and*' The publican stood a&r off 


and prayed.'' Luke xyiii. 13. Standing seems to 
have been the common gesture of worship, in a 
large and public assembly, 2 Chron. xx. 4, 5, 13. 
And in this case it is very proper to conform to the 
usage of Christians with whom we worship, wheth- 
er standing or kneeling, since neither of them is 
made absolutely necessary by the word of God. 

But I cannot think that sitting, or other postures 
of rest and laziness, ought to be indulged in solemn 
seasons of prayer, unless persons are in any respect 
infirm or aged, or the work of prayer be drawn out 
80 long as to make it troublesome to human nature 
to maintain itself always in one posture : — And in 
these cases, whatsoever gesture of body keeps the 
mind in the best composure, and fits it most to pro- 
ceed in this worship, will not only be accepted of 
God, but is most agreeable to him. For it is a great 
rule that he hath given, and he will always stand 
by, that bodily exercise profiteth little ; for he looks 
chiefly after the heart, and he will have mercy and 
not sacrifice. 

2. yh^ posture of the several parts of the body, that 
are most agreeable to worship, and that may secure 
us from all indecencies, may be thus particularized 
and enumerated. 

As for the head, let it be kept for the most part 
without motion, for there are very few turns of the 
head, in the worship of prayer, that can be account- 
ed decent And many persons have exposed them- 
Beivefl to ridicule, by tossings and shakings of the 
head, and nodding while they have been offering 



the solemn sacrifice of prayer to Qod. Thoiij^ it 
inost be allowed, that in cases of great humitiadon, 
the hanging down of the head is no improper meth- 
od to express that temper of mind. So ibo pray- 
ing publican, in the text afore-cited : so the Jews, in 
the time of Ezra, in a full congregation bowed their 
heads, and wo^hipped the Lord, with their fiicei 
towards the ground, Neh. viii. 6. But in our ex- 
pressions of hope and joy, it is natural to lift up the 
head, while we believe that our redemption drawi 
nigh ; as in Luke xxi. 28. I might also mentioii 
the apostle's advice, that '* he that prays ought to 
have his head uncovered, lest he dishonor hit 
head." 1 Cor xi. 4. 

In the face, the God of nature hath written van* 
ous indications of the temper of the mind ; and 
especially when it is moved by any warm afleo- 

In divine worship the whole visage ^ould bt 
composed to gravity and solemnity, to express a 
holy awe and reverence of the majesty of God, and 
the high importance of the work wherein we are 

In confession of an, while we express the sor- 
rows of our soul, melancholy' will appear in our 
countenances ; the dejection of the mind may be 
read there, and according to the language of scrip- 
ture, shame and confusion vrill cover our fiicea 
The humble sinner blushes before God, at the 
remembrance of bis guilt Jer. li. 51. Ezra. i£ 61 
Fervency of spirit in our petitions, and holy joy N 
when we give tlumkA to oux God for his merciesy ^ 


and rejoice in our highest hope, will be discovered 
bj.Tory agreeable and pleasing traces in the fe*- 
tnns and countenance. 

But here let us take heed, that we do not expoM 
oniBolves to the censure of our Saviour, who repro- 
ved the Pharisees for disfiguring their faces all that 
dij which they set apart for secret fasting and 
pnyer. Mat. vi. 16. While we are engaged in the 
nsj duty. Home decent appe ranees of the devotion 
flif the mind inr the countenance, are very natural 
and proper, and are not here forbidden by our 
Lord ; but at the same time, it is best that those 
diecoveries or characters of the countenance should 
ML below and stay behind the inward affections of 
the mind, rather than rise too high, or than go bo- 
fore. The devotion of our hearts should be 
warmer and stronger than that of our faces : and 
we should have a care of all irregular and disa- 
greeable distortions of the face ; all those affected 
grimaces, and wringing of the countenance, as it 
were to squeeze out words, or our tears, wbich 
•ometimes may tempt our fellow-worshippers to 
disgust, when they behold us; as well as, on the 
other hand, avoid yawning, an air of listlessness, 
and drowsy gestures, which discover the sloth of 
the mind. It is a terrible word spoken by Jeremy 
in another case, Jer. xlviii. 10. ** Cursed is he that 
doth the work of the Lord negligently." 

To lifl up the eyes to heaven is a yery natural 

£ posture of prayer, and therefore the Psalmist so 

i^en mentions it, Ps. cxxi. 1, and cxxiii. 1, and 

odi* 8. Though sometimes, under great de\<ictiaa 




of spirit, and conceni for sin, it is very decent, widi 
the publican, to look down, as it were, upon the 
ground, as being unworthy to lift up our eyes to 
heaven where i€k)d dwells. Luke xviiL 13. 

But, above all, a roving eye, thit takes notice ^ 
every iking, ought to be avoided in prayer; for 
though it may be possible for a person that prays, 
to keep his thoughts composed, whilst his eyes thus 
wander, (which at the same time seems very diffi- 
cult,) yet spectators will be ready to judge that our 
hearts are given to wander as much as our eyes are, 
and they will suspect that the life and spirit of de- 
votion are absent Upon this account, some persons 
have found it most agreeable to keep the eyes 
always closed in prayer, lest, by the objects that 
occur to their sight, the chain of their thoughts 
should be broken, or their hearts led away from 
God by their senses : nor can 1 think it improjier 
to shut that door of the senses, and exclude the 
world while we are conversing with God. But in 
this and other directions, I would always excuse 
such persons who lie under any natural weak- 
nesses, and must use those methods that make the 
work of prayer most easy to them. 

The lifting up of (he hands, sometimes folded 
together, or sometimes apart, is a very natural ex- 
presraon of our seeking help from God, who dwells 
above. Ps. xxviii. 2, and cxxxiv. 2. The elevation 
of the eyes, and the hands, is so much the dictate 
of nature in all acts of worship wherein we address 
God, that the heathens themselves frequently prac- 
lised j^ as 'we have an account in their several 


writeny as well as we find it mentioned as the piac- 
lice of the saints in the Holy Scriptures. 

And as the elevation of the hands to heaven is m 
very natural gesture, when a person prays for him- 
self; so when a superior prays for a blessing to 
descend upon any person of an inferior character, 
it is very natural to lay his hand upon the head of 
the person for whom he prays. This we find 
practised fi^om the beginning of the world ; and the 
practice descends throughout all ages. It is true 
indeed, this gesture, the imposition of hands, vraa 
used by the prophets and apostles, when they pro- 
Dounced authoritative and divine blessings upon 
men, and communicated miraculous gifls. But I 
esteem it not so much a pecuhar rite, belonging to 
the prophetical benediction, as it is a natural ex- 
pression of a desire of the divine blessing from a 
&ther to a son ; fi*om an elder person to one that 
is younger; from a minister to other Christians, 
e^>ecially those that are babes in Christ : and tliere- 
fore, when a person is set apart, and devoted to God 
in any solemn office, whilst prayers are made for a 
divine blessing to descend upon him, imposition of 
hands seems to be a gesture of nature ; and consid- 
ered in itself I cannot think it either unlawful or 

With regard to the other parts of the body, there 
is little need of any directions. Calmness and 
quietness, and an uniformity of posture, seem ^ 
be more decent Almost all motions are dis- 
agreeable, especially such as carry with them any 
sound or noise : for hereby the worship is rather 


diatuibed than promoted, and some penonB by aaeli 
actioni^ have seemed as though they |beat,time t» 
the music of their own sentences. 

In secret devotion indeed, sighs, and groans, and 
weeping, may be very well allowed, where w» 
give vent to our warmest passions, and our wholo 
nature and frame are moved with devout aflfectioDS 
of the mind. But in public, these things should \m 
less indulged, unless in such extraordinary season^ 
when all the assembly may be effectually convinced 
they arise deep from the heart. If we indulge oiir> 
•elves in various motions or noises, made by the 
hands or feet, or any other parts, it will tempt 
others to think that our minds are i^ot very intense- 
ly engaged, or at least it will appear so familiar and 
irreverent, as we would not willingly be guihy of 
in the presence of our superiors here on earth. 


Since it is so necessaiy for the person that speaks 
in prayer, to abstain from noisy motions, I hope all 
that join with him will understand that it is veiy 
unseemly for them to disturb the worship with 
motion and noise. How indecent is it at family, 
prayer, for persons to spend a good part of the time 
in settling themselves upon their knees, adjiurtilig 
their dress, moving th^r chairs, saluting those that 
pan by and come in after the worship is begun ? 
How unbecoming is it to stir and rise, while tilt, 
two or three last sentences are spoken, as tbougli 


derocioii were so unpleasant and tedious a thmg 
that thej longed to have it over. How often Is it 
found, that the knee is the only part that pays em- 
temal reverence to God, while all the other parts 
of the hody are composed of laziness, ease, and 
negligence ! Some there are that seldom come in 
lill the prayer is begun, and then there is a hustle 
and disturbance made for their accommodation. 
To prevent some of these irregularities, I would 
perauade him that prays, not to begin till all that 
design to join in the family worship are present, 
asd that even before the chapter is read; for I 
would not have the word of Grod used in a family 
tor no other purpose than the tolling of a beU at 
church, to tell that the people are coming int« 


SwcE I have spoken so particularly about family 
prayer, I would insert a word or two concerning 
another part of social worship in a family, and that 
is, gwing thanks btfore and offter meal : herein we 
ou^t to have a due regard to the occasion, and the 
persons present ; the neglect of which hath been 
attended with indecencies and indiscretions. 

Some have used themselves to mutter a few 
words with so low a voice, as though by some se- 
ciet charm they were to consecrate the food alone, 
and there was no need of the rest to join with them 
in the petitions. Others have broke out in so vio- 



lent a sound as though they were bound to make a 
thousand people hear thera. 

Some perform this part of worship with a stigfal 
and familiar air, as though they had no sense oi 
the great God to whom they speak : others have 
put on an unnatural solemnity, and changed their 
natural voice into so different and awkward a tone, 
not without some distortions of countenance, that 
hath tempted strangers to ridicule. 

It is the custom of some, to hurry over a single 
sentence or two, and they have done before half the 
company are prepared to lift up a thought to heav- 
en. And some have been just heard to bespeak a 
blessing on the church and the king, but seem to 
have forgot they were asking Grod to bless their 
food, or giving thanks for the food they had re- 
ceived. Others again, have given themselves a 
loose into a long prayer, and among a multitude of 
other petitions, have not had one that related to the 
table before tbem. 

The general rules of prudence, together vnth a 
due observation of the custom^f the place where 
we live, would correct all these disorders, and teach 
us that a few sentences suited to the occasion, 
spoken with an audible and proper voice, are suf- 
ficient for this purpose, especially if any strangers 
are present If we are abrocul in mixed' campan^^ 
many times it is best for each pef-son to lift up a 
petition to God in secret for himself; yet «n a rdir 
giou8 family, or where all the company are of a 
piece, and no other circumstance forbids it, I can- 
not disapprove of a pious soul sometimes breathing 


out a few more devout expresBions than are jvat 
necessary to give thanks £>r the food we receive ; 
nor is it improper to join any other presept oc- 
currence of Providei^ce together with the table 

Here I wouid idso beg leave to add this: that 
when a peraon is eating alone, I do not see any 
necessity of rismg always from his seat, to recom- 
mend his food to the blessing of God, which may 
be done in any posture of body with a short cjacu- 
\s lation : yet when he eo/f in compamy^ I am of opin- 
ion, that the present custom of standing up, is 
more decent and honorable than of sitting down, 
. just before we give thanks ; which was too much 
praetiaed in the former age. 

Thus I have delivered my sentiments concerning 
the gestures proper for prayer, and I hope they will 
appear useful and proper to n^aintain the dignity of 
the worship, and to pay honor to €rod with our 
bodies as well as with our souls. As we must not 
make ourselves mere statues and lifeless engines of 
pmyer: so nei&er must we, out of pretence of 
spirituality, neglect all decencies. Our forms at 
reli^on are not numerous nor gaudy, as the Jewish - 
rites ; nor theatrical gestures, or superstitious foppe- 
ries, like the Papists. We have no need to be 
masters of c^emonies, in order to worship God 
aright, if we will but attend to Ae simpUcity of 
manners which nature dictates, and the precepts 
and examples tibiat the goi^el confirms. 

Remark. Though the gestures that belong to 
pnaddng are^ veiy different from those of prcjer^ 



yet moit ci the rake that are preeeiibed fiir the 
expte e ri on and the ymce in prayer, may be ue^hlly 
applied alw to pvpaching ; but this difierence is to 
be observed, that, in the work of preaehing, the 
same restraints are not always necessary, and espe- 
cially in applying truth warmly to the conscience ; 
fbr then we speak to n^en in the name and author- 
ity of €k>d, and we may indulge a greater fteedom 
and brightness of langua^, more lively emotions^ 
and bolder efforts of zeal and outward fervor : but 
in prayer, where in the name of ranful creatures, we 
address the great and holy Grod, every thing that 
belongs to us must be composed to an appearance 
of humility. 




Thus have I finished what I designed upon the 
Qijft of Prayer, with regard to the Tnatter, the meihodf 
the expresaUmf the voice, and the gesture. I shall 
conolude this chapter with tl^ese Jwe general direc- 

h K»ep ikt midfit %aay, bettveen a mce and UHnh 
rmiM atkmUmce to aU the rules I have gwen, and a 
oareJeM fu§fiefit qfihtm> As every rule seems to 
cany its owin reason with it, ^ it is proper that 
there abould be some regard had to it, when occa- 
riom fa the. practice occur. For I hiive aodeavor- 


ed to Bay nothing on this subject, but what mijji^t 
flomo way or other, be useful towards the attain- 
ment of an agreeable gift of prayer, and the decent 
exercise of that gift. The multiplicity of our 
wants, the unfaithfulness of our memories, the dul- 
nesB and slowness of our apprehensions, the com- 
mon wanderings of our thoughts, and the coldness 
of our aftections, will require our best care for tho 
remedy of them. 

Yet, on the - other hand, I would not haye you 
confine yourselyes too precisely to all these forms, 
in matter, method, expression, voice and gesture, 
upon every occasion, lest you feel yourselves there- 
by under some restraint, and prevent your souls of 
that divine liberty, with which, upon special occa- 
sions, the Spirit of God blesses his own people in 
the performance of this duty. When the heart is 
full of good matter, the tongue will sometimes be 
" as the pen of a ready writer." Ps. Ixv. 1. Such " 
a fixedness and/ulness of thought, such a fervor of 
pious afiections, will sometimes produce so glorious 
a fluency and variety of pertinent and moving ex- 
presaons, and all in so just a method, as makes it 
appear that the man is carried beyond himself, and 
would be straitened and cramped by a careful 
attendance to rules. 

See, then, that the graces of prayer are at work in 
your souls with power ; let this be your firat and 
highest care ; and by a sweet influence this will 
ieod you to a natural and easy performance of this 
4a^, according to most of the particular rules I 
have ffjeu, even without a nice and exaict «ja)^\\d- 


ance to them, 80, without atteDdance to the mlea 
of art, a roan may sometimes, in a very iftusical 
humor, strike but some inimitable graces and flour- 
ishes, and charm all that hear him. 

II. Among ministers, and among your fellow- 
christians, observe those that have the most edifying 
gifts; and, with regard to the matter, method, ex- 
pression, voice, and gesture, endeavor to imitate 
them who are more universally approved ofj and 
tlie exercise of whose talents is most abundantly 
blessed, to excite and maintain the devotion of all 
their fellow-worshippers. And at the same time, 
also, take notice of all the irregularities and inde- 
cencies that any persons are guilty of in this 
worship, in order to avoid them when you pray. 

III. Use all proper means to obtain a manly pres- 
ence of mind, and holy courage in religious perform- 
ances. Though excess of bashfulness be a natural 
infirmity ; yet, if indulged in such afiTairs, it may 
become very culpable. There have been many 
useful gifb buried in silence, through a sinful bash- 
ililness in the person endowed with them: and 
generally all pensons, when they first begin to pray 
in public, feel something of this wealaiess, for 
want of a due presence of mind : and it hath had 
different effects. Some persons have lost that due 
calmness and temper which should govern their 
ezpreseoons ; and have been driven on to the end of 
their prayer like a school-boy hunying his lesson 
over, or a kmim set a running, that could not stop 
till it was quite doym. Others have heatated at 
every §eDtBDcef a&d,ilintts Y^e^f^Vi iq. %^^ vol their 


npeechj that they could not utter any mord. Others 
again, whose minds have been well prepared and 
ibmished, have lost their own scheme of thoughts 
and made poor work at first, through mere bash- 

I grant that courage, and a degree of assurance, 
are natural talents ; but they may also, in a great 
measure, be acquired by the use of proper means. 
I will here mention a few of them. 

1. Gret above the shame of appearing religious, 
that you may be dead to the reproaches of a wicked 
world, and despise the jests and scandal that are 
cast upon strict godliness. 

2. Make religious conversation your practice 
and delight If you are but inured to speak to men 
concerning the things of God without blushing, you 
will be enabled to speak to God in the presence of 
men with holy confidence. 

3. Labor to attain this gifl of prayer in a tolera* 
hie degree, and exercise it often in secret for somo 
considerable time before you begin in public. 

4. Take heed that your heart be always well 
prepared, and let the matter of your prayer be well 
premeditated when you make your first public at- 
tempts of it 

5. Strive to maintain upon your soul a much 
greater awe of the majesty of that Grod to whom 
you speak, than of the opinions of those fellow- 
creatures with whom you worship ; that so you may, 
as it were, forget you are in the company of men, 
while you address the Most High (xod. Chide your 
heart into courage when you find it «Vi^ «xid ^^"'^ 


ing, and say, ^^ Dare I speak to the great and dread- 
fbl God, and shall I be afraid of man ? " 

Now, in order to practise this advice well, the 
next shall be akin to it 

6. Be not too tender of your own reputation in 
these externals of religion. This softness of spirit, 
which we call bashfidness, has oflen a great deal of 
fondness for 'self mingled with it. When we are 
to speak in public, this enfeebles the mind, throws 
us into a hurry, and makes us perform much worse 
than we do in secret. When we are satisfied, tfaere- 
forcj that we are engaged in present duty to Qodj 
let us maintain a noble negligence of the censures 
of men, and s])eak with the same courage as 
though none but God were present 

Yet, to administer farther relief under this weak' 
ness, I add, 

7. Make your first essays in the company of one 
or two, either of your inferiors, or your most inti- 
mate, most pious, and candid acquaintance, that 
you may be under no fear or concern about their 
sentiments of your performance ; or join yourself 
in society with some young Christians of equal, 
standing, and set apart times for praying together ; 
which is an excellent way to obtain the gift of 

8. Do not aim at length of prayer in your 
younger attempts, but rather be short, offer up a 
few more common and necessary requests at first, 
and proceed by degrees to enlarge and fiilfil the 
several parts of this worship, as farther occasion 

offeTf and as jf our gV&a and <^Q\n«%<& increase. 


U. Be not discouraged if yoqr first e]q)erimttit8 
be not 00 successful as you desire. Many Chnsdans 
bava in time arrived at a glorious gtfl in prayer, who 
in their younger essays have been overwhelmed 
with bashfuljiess and confiiGnon. Let not Satan 
prevail with you, therefore, to cast off this jHractice, 
and your hope, at once, by such a temptation as 

10. Make it the matter of your earnest requests 
to God, that you may be endowed with Christian 
courage, with ho]y liberty of speech, and freedom 
Ki£ utterance ; which the blessed apostle Paul often 
prays for : — and you have every reason to hope that 
Hie who gives "every good and perfect gift,** wilJ nc»t 
cleny you that which is so necessary to the perform- 
ance of your duty. 

I proceed now to the fourth general direction. 

IV. Intreat the assistance of some kind Christian 
Jriend to give you notice of all the irregularities ihat 
yourselves may have been guilty of in prayers, espe- 
cially in your first years of the practice of this duty; 
and esteem those the most valuable of your fiiends 
who will put themselves to the trouble of giving, you 
a modest and an obliging hint of any of your own 
imperfections ; for it is not possible that we our- 
selves should judge of the tone of our own voice, 
or the gestures that we ourselves may use, whether 
they 1^ agreeable to our fellow-worshippers or not 
And in other instances also, our fi*iends may form a 
more unbiassed judgment than ourselves ; and 
therefore are fittest to be our correctors. 

For want of this, some persons in their youths 
have gained ao ilia habit of speaking m^\i\^<^^%xA. 


80 many disorder! hare attended thor exercise of 
the gift of prayer, ill tones, yicious accents, wild 
distortions of the countenance, and divers other 
improprieties, which they carried with them all the 
years of their hfe, and have oftentimes exposed the 
wonhip of Grod to contempt, and hindered the 
edification of those that joined with them, rather 
than promoted it. 

V. Be JrequerU in the practice of tkis duty of 
prayer^ not only in secret^ hut wUh one cawther» For 
though every rule that I have heibre given were 
fixed in your memories and always at band, yet 
without frequent practice, you will never attain to 
any great skill and readiness in this holy exercise. 

As our graces themselves, by being often tried 
and put upon action, become stronger, and shine 
brighter, give God more glory, and do more service 
to men ; so will it fare with every gift of the iloly 
Spirit also; it is improved by frequent exercise. 
Therefore the aposde bids the young evangelist 
Timothy, that he should not neglect to stir up the 
gift' that was in him, though it was a gift commu- 
nicated in an extraordinaiy way, by the imposition 
of hands, 2 Tim. i. 6. And therefore it is, that 
some serious Christians that have less knowledge, 
will excel persons of great learning, and talents, and 
judgment, in the gift of prayer; because, though 
they do not, understand the rules so well, yet they 
practise abundantly more. And, for the most part, 
if all other circumstances are equal, it will be found 
a genera] truth, that he that prays most, prays 




In the first two chapteni, I have finished what I 
proposed concerning the external parts of prayer; 
I proceed now to take a short view of the internal 
and spiritual part of that duty : and this has been 
usually called the Grace of Prayer. 

Here I shall endeavor to explain what it means, 
and fiiiow how properly that term is used: after- 
wards I shall particularly mention what are those 
inward and spiritual exercises of the mind which 
are required in the duty of prayer, and then give 
directions how to attain them. 

But in the most part of this chapter, I shall pass 
over things with much brevity, because it is not 
my dei^gn in writing this book, to say over again 
wh'at many practical writers have said on these 



Grace, in its most general sense, implies the Gree 
and undeserved f^vor of one peiaon ts^vxdi^ 


another that is esteemed his infeijor. And in the 
language of the New Testament, it is Usually put to 
signify thd favor and mercy of God towards sio- 
ful creatures ; which, upon all accounts, is acknowl- 
edged to be free and imdeserved. Now, because , 
our natures are corrupt, and averse to what i^ good, 
and whensoever they are changed and inclined to 
€rod and divine things, this is done by tlie power of 
€rod working in us : therefore, this very change of 
nature, this renewed and divine frame of mind, 
is called, in the common language of Christiansyby 
the name of Grace. 

If I were to wTite my thoughts of the distinc- 
tion between the terms, virtue^ holiness, and grace, 1 
should give them thus : 

Virlue generally signifies the mere material part 
of that whiph is good, without a particulau* refer- 
ence to God, as its principle or end ; therefore, the 
good dispositions and actions of the heathens were 
called virtues. And this word is also applied to 
sobriety, righteousness, charity, and every thing 
that relates to ourselves and our neighbors, rather 
than to religion and things that relate to divine 

Holiness signifies all those good dispositions and 
actions, vnth their particular reference to God as 
their jend, to whose glory they are devoted and 
perfomed. The word holy signifies that which is 
devoted or dedicated. 

Grtice denotes the same dispositions, with a 
peculiar regard to God as their principle, intimating 
that they proceed from bis fiacvov. 

or PRATER 18. 155 

Sometimes this word is used in a comprehensiye 
flense, to signify the whole train of Christian virtues, 
or tbe universal habit of holiness. So may those 
texts be understood, ** And of his fulness have all we 
Teceived, and grace for grace." John, i. 16. " Grow 
in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus 
Christ." 2 Pet iii.l8. And so in our common lan- 
guage we say, such a person is a graceless wretch ; 
iie has no grace at all, i. e. no good dispositions. 
We say such an one is truly gracious, or he has a 
principle of grace, i. e. he is a man of religion and 

' Sometimes it is used in its singular sense, and 
means any one inclination or holy principle in the 
mind. So we say, the grace of faith, the grace of 
repentance, the grace of hope or love. So 2 Cor. 
viii. 7, " Therefore, as ye abound in faith, in knowl- 
edge, in your love to us, see that ye abound in 
tins gmee also ; " i. e. liberality. 

Sometimes it is used in a sense a little more en- 
larged, but not universal ; and it implies all those 
jaons qualifications that belong to any one action or 
duty ; so we read of tlie grace that belongs to con- 
vensation — "Let your speech be always with 
gmee." CoL iv. 6. The grace of singing, " Singing 
with grace in your hearts ,•" and the grace of di- 
vine worship seems to be mentioned. ** Let us have 
grace whereby we may serve God acceptably, with 
reverence," &c. Heb. xii. 28. and the gmce of 
prayar ; ** I will pour upon the house of David, the 
qnrit of grace and supplications. " Zech. xii. 10. 

Th^^rrare of prayer, in our common acc^^X"Bi^wjss 


iflliot any one nngle act or habit of mind ; bu 
pliea aU Oioat holy dispositions ofsoulj tehieh a 
exercised in (hat part of divine tsorship. It < 
in a readiness to put forth those several acts 
sanctified mind, will, and affections, whi 
suited to the duty of prayer. 

Hence will appear the great difference 
betwixt the gift and gr<ice of prayer. The 
but the outside, the shape, the carcase of th 
The grace is the soul and spirit that giyes 
and vigor, and efficacy ; that renders it ace 
to €k>d, and of real advantage to ourselves. 

The gift chiefly consists in a readiness oft) 
agreeable to the several parts of prayer, and i 
ty of expressing those thoughts in speaking t 
The grace consists merely in the inward v 
of the heart and conscience towards God ai 
gion. The gift has a shew and appearance 
desires and affec\ions ; but holy affections, 
desires, and real converse with God, belong 
the grace of prayer. 

The gift and the grace are many times se] 
one from the other ; and it hath been often 
that the gift of prayer hath been attained in 
degree by study and practice, and by the cc 
workings of the Spirit of God communici 
some persons that have known nothing c 
grace. There may be also the grace of pri 
Uvely exercise in some souls, that have but 
small degree of this gifl, and that hardly knoi 
to form their thoughts and desires into a r 


melhod, or to express those desires in tolerable Ian- 

. Concerning some peraons it maj be said, as in 
Mittt. vii. 22, that, though they could pour out 
abundance of words before God in prayer ; though 
diey could preach like apostles, or Uke angels, or 
east out devils in the name of Christ, yet our Lord 
Jesqs knows them not; for they have no grace. 
On the other hand, there are some that are dear to 
CM, that can but chatter and cry like a swallow 
or a crane, as Hezekiah did, and yet are in the 
Ihrely exercise of the grace of prayer. But where 


both these, the gift and the graccy meet together in 
one person, such a Christian brings honor to God, 
and has a greater capacity and prospect of doing 
much service for souls in the world ; he is made of 
great use to the edification and comfort of his fel- 

Those acts 6f the sanctified soul, in all its pow- 
era, which are put forth in the duty of prayer, may 
be properly called so many graces of the Holy 
Spirit drav?n forth into exercise. And of these, 
mie hdong io the whole work and worship of prayer ; 
ttd o&ers are peculiar io the several parts of the 



Thx graces that bebng to the whole wodL^ot ^i^is?) 
f£ prayer, are such as these : 


I. FaWif or hditfqf (he being qf Godj and 
perfect knowledge^ and his gracious notice qfaUthtd 

toe apeak in prayer. This rule the aposde giyes, ' 
Heb. xi. 6. " He that comes to God, must betieve that 
he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that dUigent- 
ly seek him." We should endeavor to impress our 
minds frequently Tvith a fresh and lively belief of 
Grod's existence, though he be so much unknown; 
of his presence, though he be invisible; of his just 
and merciful regard to all the actions of men, and 
especially their religious affairs ; that so prater may 
not be a matter of custom and ceremony, but per- 
formed with a design and hope of pleasing God, 
and getting some good from him. This exercise oi 
a lively faith runs through every part of the duty, 
and gives spirit and power to the whole worship. 

II. Gravity f aolemnity, and seriousness qf spirit. 
Let a light and trivial temper be utterly banished, 

when we come into the presence of 'God. When 
we speak to the great Creator, (who must also be our 
Judge,) about the concerns of infinite and everiast- 
ing moment, we ought to have our souls clothed 
with solemnity, and not to assume those airs which 
are lawful at other seasons, when we talk with our 
fellow-creatures about meaner affairs. Aswanton- 
ness and vanity of mind ought never to be indulged 
in the least degree, when we come to perfbim any 
part of divine worship ; and especially when we, 
who are but dust and ashes, speak unto the great 
and dreadful God. 

III. Spiritucdity and heavenhf-mindedness elioiild 
JtfD through the whok of thin duty. For prayer k^ 


letuenieiit fix»m earth, and a retreat fitnn oiuTiel- 
low-creatures, to attend od God, and hold corres- 
pondence with him that dwells in heaven. If our 
thouj^ts ar^ fUll of com and wine, and oil, and the 
business of this life, we shall not seek so earnestly 
die favor and the fiice of Ood as becomes devout 
worshippers. The things of the world, therefore, 
most be commanded to stand by for a season, and 
> to abide at the foot of the mount, while we walk up 
^ higher to offer up our sacrifices, as Abraham did, 
md to meet our Grod. Our aims, and ends, and 
desires, should grow more spiritual as we proceed 
in the duty. And though God indulges us to con- 
Terse with him about many of our temporal affairs 
ia prayer, yet let us take care that the things of our 
souls, and the eternal world, always possess the 
chief room in our hearts. And whatsoever of the 
eareBofthis life enter into our prayers, and are 
spread before the Lord, let us see that our aims 
therein are spiritual ; that our very desires of earthly 
comforts may be purified from all carnal ends, and 
nnctified to some divine purposes, to the glory of 
God, to the honor of the gospel, and tlie salvation 

IV. Sincerity and uprightntsa qfhearf^ is another 
grace that must run through this worship. Whcth* 
erwe speak to God concerning his own glories; 
i«iiether we give him thanks for his abundant good- 
ness, or confess our various iniquities befi):re him, or 
express our desires of mercy at his hand, still let 
our hearts and our lips agree, and not F^e fouvd 
IDockersof God, who searches the heoxt^iindtEkm 


the reins, and can spy hypocrisy in the dukest 
comers of the soul. 

v. HoiyuHxtdifidruss and attentumqfmindvqtmi 
iht duty in which we are engaged ; this must run 
through every part of prayer. Our thoughts must 
not be suffered to wander among the creatures, and 
rore to the ends of the earth, when we come to con- 
verse with the high and holy Grod. . Without this 
holy watchfulness we shall be in danger of leaving 
Gpd in the midst of the worship, because the temp- 
tations that arise from Satan, and from our own 
hearts, are various and strong. Without this wateh- 
fiilness, our warship will degenerate into formality, 
and we shall find coldness and indifference creep- 
ing upon our spirits, and spoiling the success of 
our duties. Watch unto prayer, is a constant direc- 
tion of the great apostle. 

I might add to these, humility, and delight or 
pleasure, and other exercises of the sanctified af- 
fections ; but I shall have occasion more properly 
to mention them under the next head. 




These grac€8 that peculiarly belong to the several 
parts of prayer are distinguished accq^xling to the 
parts of this duty, viz. 

1. hxiocaHon^ or calling upon God, requires a 
special cfwt of YiU majesb| V> «i\X«iidL *\\^ «sA a^«( 


MtsMt of war own meemness and unworOdness ; and at 
the same time we should express hi>ly wonder and 
pleasure, that the Most High God, who inhabits 
eternity, will suffer such contemptible and worth- 
less, beings as we are to hold correspondence with 

II. The work of aditration, or praise, runs through 
the several attributes of the divine nature, and re- 
quires of us the exercise of our various mffectiona 
suited to those several attributes. As when we 
ittention God's self-«ufficiency and independence, it 
becomes us to be humble and acknowledge our de- 
pendence. When we speak of his power and of 
his wisdom, we should abase ourselves before him, 
beoiuse of our weakness and folly, as well as stand 
in holy admiJration at the infinity of those glories of 
Qod. When we mention his love and compas- 
«on, our souls should return much love to him 
again, and have our affections going forth strongly 
towards him. When we speak of his justice^ we 
should have an holy awe upon our spirits, and a re- 
ligious fear, suited to the presence bf the just and 
dreadful God. And the thought of his forgiveness 
should awaken us to hope and joy. 

III. In the confession of our sorrows and our 
sins, humility is a necessary grace, and deep con- 
trition of soul, in the presence of that God whose 
laws we have broken, whose gospel we have abus- 
ed, whose majesty we have afOronted, and whose 
T^igeance we have deserved. Here all the springs 
of repentance should be set qpen, and we should 




mourn for ein, even at the same time we hope 
iniquity is forgiven, and our souls are reconciled to 
God. Shame and self-indignation, and holy re- 
venge against the corruption of our hearts, should 
be awakened also in this part of prayer. 

IV. In our petitions we should raise our demrts 
to such different degrees of fervefi(ucy as the nature of 
our request makes necessary. When we pray for 
the things of the upper world, and eternal blessings^ 
we cannot be too warm in our desires : when we 
seek the mercies of life, the degree of fervency 
should be abated : for it is possible that we may be 
happy, and yet go without many of the comforts of 
the present state : submission is here required ; and 
God expects to see his children thus rationally reli- 
gious, and wisely to divide the things which are 
most agreeable to his will, and most necessary for 
our felicity. 

v." While we make intercession for our friends, 
or our enemies, we ought to feel in ourselves warm 
and lively compassion : and when we pray for the 
church of Christ in the world, we should animate 
ail our expressions with a burning zeal Hot his glo- 
ry, and tenderness for our fellow-christians. 

Pleading with God calls for humble importunity ; 
the arguments that we use with God in pleading 
Mriih him, are but the various forms of importunate 
request But because we are but creatures, and we 
speak. to God, humility ought to mingle with every 
one of our arguments. Our pleadings with him 
should be so expressed as always to carry in them 
that decency and that distance which becomes 


creatures in the presence of their Maker. In plead- 
ings, also, we are required to' exercise faith in the 
promises of the gospel ; faith in the name of Christ 
Jesus our Mediator; faith in the mercies of our 
Grod, according to the discoveries he hath made of 
himself in his word. We are called to believe that 
he is a God hearing prayer, and that he will bestow 
upon us what we seek, so far as is necessary for his 
glory §nd our salvation : to believe that he is a re- 
warder of them who diligently seek him. Hebrews^ 
xi. 6. Here also the grace of hope comes into ex- 
ercise ; for while we trust the promises, we hope 
for the things promised, or the things for which we 
petition. We ought to maintain an humble, holy 
expectation of those mercies for which we plead 
with God. We must direct our prayer to him, and 
look up with David, Ps. v. 3, and with Habbakuk, 
^ stand upon our watch-tower and see what he will 
answer us.** Hab. ii. 1. 

VI. In that part of prayer which is called pro- 
fesawn, or self-resignaiion^ great humility is again 
required ; a sweet submission to his wUl ; a compo* 
sedness and quietness of spirit under his determina-^ 
tion, even thbugh, for reasons of infinite, wisdom 
and love, he withholds fr^om us the particular com- 
forts that we seek. Here let patience have its 
perfect exercise, and let the soul continue in an 
humble frame, waiting upon Grod. While we give 
up ourselves to God, a divine steadiness of soul 
i^ould attend it, and the finmst cmxragt of heart 
against sM oppositions, while we confirm all our 
aeljMedications u> thQ I^qvA. 


VII. In ikanksgifnng a most hearty gratitude of 
Boul is required, a deep sense of divine favoFS, and 
a readine»3 to^ return unto God according, to his 
goodness, to the uttermost of our capacities ; a 
growing love to God, and sincere longing to do some- 
thing for him, answerable to the variety and riches 
of his grace towards iis. Here also with holy toon- 
(2er, we acknowledge the condescension of God to 
bestow mercies upon us, so unworthy; and this 
wonder should arise and grow up in dimne jay^ 
while we bless our Maker for the mercies of this 
life, and our Father for tin interest in his covenant 
and his special love. And in our thanksgivings we 
should be sure to take notice of alt returns of 
prayer, all merciful appearances of God in answer 
to our requests ; for it is but a poor converse that is 

. maintained with God, if we are only careful about 
our speaking to him, but take no notice of any 
replies he condescends to make to our poor and 
worthless addresses. 

VIII. When we bless God, we should show an 
earnest longing after Ike honor of the name of Gody 
and our souls should breathe fervently afler the 
accomplishment of those promises wherein he hath 
engaged to spread his own honors, and to magnify 
his name, and the name of his Son ; we should, as 
it were, exuU and triumph in those glories, which 
God, our God, possesses, and rejoice to think he 
shall forever possess them. 

Then we conclude the whole prayer with our 

amen of sincerity and of faith, in one short word, 

expressing over again oux At^cvresioivi^^ our oonfes- 


sions, and our petitions ; trusting and hoping for 
the audience of our prayers, and acceptance of our 
persons, from whence we should take encourage- 
ment to rise from this duty with a sweet serenity 
and composure of mind, and maintain a joyful 
and heavenly fram^, as those that have been with 

But lest some pious and humble souls should be 
discouraged, when they find not these lively exer- 
cises of faith, hope, love, fervency of desire, and 
divine delight in worship, and thence conclude, 
that they have not the grcu;e of prayer^ I would add 
this caution, viz. That all the graces of prayer 
are seldom at work in the soul at once, in an emi- 
nent and sensible degree ; sometimes one prevails 
more, and sometimes another, in this feeble ond 
imperfect state : and when a Christian comes be- 
fore God with much deadness of heart, much over- 
come with carnal thoughts, and feels great reluc- 
tance even to the duty of prayer, and falls down 
before God, mourning, complaining, self-condem- 
ning^ and, with sighs and deep groans in secret, 
makes known his burden and his sins to' God ; 
though he can but speak a few words before him, 
such a fiame and temper of mind will be approved 
by that God who judges the secrets of the heart, 
and makes most compasaonate allowances for the 
infirmity of oiu* fiesh : and will acknowledge his 
own grace working in that soul, though it be but 
jost breathing and struggling upward through loads 
of gin and sorrow. 




In order to direct us in the spiritual performance c 
this duty, we must consider it as a holy convere 
maintained between' earth and heaven ; betwixt th 
great and holy God, and mean and sinful creatuiei 
Now the most natural rules that I can think of, t 
carry on this converse, are such as these : 

> Directum 1. Possess yovr hearts tmih a mm 
deeding sense of the characters of the two parties ihi 
are to maintain this correspondence ; that is, God an 
yourselves. This, indeed, is one direction for th 
gift of prayer ; but it is also most necessary to attai 
the grace. Let us -consider who this glorioi 
Being is, that invites us to this fellowship with hin 
self: how awful in Majesty ! how terrible in righi 
eousness ! how irresistible in power ! how ui 
searchable in wisdom ! how all-sufficient in ble« 
edness ! how condescending in mercjt! Let u 
again consider, who are we that are invited to thi 
correspondence? How vile in our original ! hoi 
guilty in our hearts and lives ! how needy of ever 
blessing! how utterly incapable to help ourselves 
and how miserable forever, if we are without God 

And if we have sincerely obeyed the call of hi 
goepelf and have attained to some comfortable hop 
of his love : let us consider, how infinite are ou 
obligations to him, and Vlonv xk«^cjeie»xY> and hoi 


deUgfatful it IB to enjoy his viats here, with whom 
it wiU be our happiness to dwell forever. When 
we feel our spirits deeply impressed with such 
thoughts as these, we are in the best finme, and 
most likely way to pray with grace in our hearts. 
Direction 2. When you come before God, 
Xtmember (he nature of tfds correspondence, it is all 
ipiritual : remernber the dignity and privilege^ the 
duignf and the importance of iL 

A 8en6e of the high favor, in being admitted to 
this privilege and honor, will fill your souls with 
humble wonder, and with heavenly joy, such as 
become the favorites and worshippers of an infinite 
God. A due attendance to the design and impor- 
tance of this duty, will &xi your thoughts to the 
most immovable attention, and strict watchfiilness ; 
it will overspread you^ spirit with seriousness ; it 
will command all your inward powers of devotion, 
t and will raise your desires to holy fervency. You 
I pray to him that hath power to save and to destroy, 
J about your eternal desti*uction, or eternal salvatio^i ; 
and if eternity, with all its awfiil attendants, will 
not awaken^some of the graces of prayer, the soul 
must be iira very stupid frame. 

Direction 3. Seek earnestly a state of friendship 
toift him with whom you converse, and labor after a 
good hope and assurance' of thai friendship. " We are 
all by nature enemies to God, and children of his 
wrath." Rom. viii. 7, and Eph. ii. 2. If we are 
not reconciled, we can never hold communion with 
him. How can we delight in converse with an 
enemy so almighty ; or pay him due worship, while 



we believe he hate8,*anci will destroy us ? But * 
how unspeakable is the pleasure in holding c 
verse with so infinite, so almighty, and so com[ 
sionate a friend! And how ready will all 
powers of nature be to render every honor to h 
while we feel and know ourselves to be his fiii 
ites, and the children of his grace ! While 
believe that a!*l his honors are our glory in this si 
of friendship, and each of his perfections is a pi 
of our hope, and an assurance of our happiness 
Now, in order to obtain this friendship, and 
promote this divine fellowship, I recommend ; 
to the next direction. 

Direction 4. lA'&e much upon, and tinih Jesui 
Mediator ; by whose interest alone you can come n 
Gody and be brought into his company. *' Chris 
the way, the truth, and the life : and no man co] 
to the Father, but by him." John,xiv. 6. *' Throi 
liim Jews and Gentiles have access unto the 
ther." Eph. ii. 11. Live much upon him, theref 
by trust and dependence ; and live much with 1 
by meditation and love. 

When a sinner under first conviction, sees v 
horror the dreadful holiness of God, and his < 
guilt, and desert of damnation ; how fearful is h 
draw near to Grod in prayer! And how much 
couraged while he abides without hope ! 
when he iirst beholds Christ in his mediate 
offices, and his glorious all-sufficiency to s 
when he first beholds this new and hving wa; 
access to Grod, consecrated by the blood of Chi 
how cheerfully doth he come before the thron 


God, and pour out hii^ whole soul in prayer ! Ahd 
how lively is his nature in the exercise of every 
grafee suited to his duty ! How deep his humility ! 
How fervent his desires ! How importunate his 
pleadings! How warm and hearty are his thanks- 
givings ! 

And we have need always to maintain upon our 
spirits a deep sense of the evil of sin, t)f our desert 
of death, of the dreadful holiness of God, and the 
impossibility of our converse with him without a 
mfidiator, that so the name of Jesus may be ever 
precious to us, and that we may never venture into 
the presence of God in set and solemn prayer, 
without the eye of our soul to Christ, our glorious 

Direction 5* Maintain always a praying frame ; 
a temper of mind ready to converse with God. 
This will be one way to keep all praying graces 
ever ready for exercise. Visit him, therefore, often 
and upon all occasions, with whom you would ob- 
tain some immediate communion at solemn sea- 
sons of devotion, and make the work of prayer your 
delight ; nor rest satisfied till you find pleasure in it. 

What advantages and opportunities soever you 
enjoy fat social prayer, do not neglect praying in 
secret ; at least once a day constrain the business 
of life, to give you leave to say something to God 

When you join with others vq. prayer, where you 
•re not the speaker, let your heart be kept intent and 
watchful to the work, that you may pray so much 
the better, when you are the mouth oC odienX^^^ 



Take fi^quent occagions, in« the midst of you 
duties in the world, to ]lft up your heart to God 
he is ready, to hear a sudden sentence, and ¥riU an 
swer the breathing of a holy soul towards himseli 
in the short intervals or spaces betwixt your dail] 
affairs. Thus you may pray without ceasing, at 
the apostle directs, and your graces may be erei 
lively ; whereas, if you only make your addresses tt: 
God in the morning and evening, and forget him 
all the day, your hearts will grow indifferent in 
worship, and you will only pay a salutation with 
your lips and your knees, and fulfil the ta^ with 
dull formality. , 

Diredion 6. Seek earnestly the assistance of fki 
Holy Spirit It is he that works every grace in us, 
and fits us for every duty ; it is he that awakens 
sleeping graces iuto exercise; it is he that draws 
the soul near to God, and teaches us this correspon- 
dence with heaven. He is the Spirit of grace and 
supplication ; but because this is the subject of the 
following chapter, I shall pursue it no farther here. 



All the rules and directions that hare hidierti 
been laid down, in (xrder to teach us to pray, wil 
be inei&ctual if we \i«v« xko ^^<racA «&d& We ar 


not sufficient of ourselves to think one thought ; 
and all that is good conies firom God. If, therefore, 
we would attain the gifl or grace of prayer, we 
must seek both from heaven ; and since the mercies 
of Grod of this kind, that are bestowed on men, ara 
usually attributed to the Holy Spirit, he may very 
properly ])e called the Spirit of prayer; and as 
such, his assistance is to be sought with diligence 
and importunity. 

I confess the spirit of prayer, in our language, 
may sometimes signify a temper of mind well fur- 
nished and ready for the work of prayer. So when 
we say, there was a greater spirit of prayer found in 
churches in former days than now ; we mean, 
there was a greater degree of the gifl and grace 
of prayer found amongst men ; their hearts and 
their tongues were better furnished and fitted for 
this duty. But to deny the spirit of prayer in all 
other senses, and declai-e there is nb need of any 
influences from the Holy Spirit to assist us to pray, 
carries in it a high degree of self-sufficiency, and 
borders upon profaneness. 

My business, therefore, in this chapter, shall be, 
to prove, by plain and easy arguments, that the 
Spirit of God doth as^st his people in prayer ; then, 
to show what his assistances are, and how far they 
extend, that we may not expect more fix)m him 
than scripture promises, nor attribute too little to 
his influences ; and after a few cautions laid down, 
I shall proceed to ^ve some directions bow the 
aids of the Holy Spirit m^y be obtained. 





The methods of proof which I shall use to evince 
the influences of the Spirit of God in prayer, are 
these three : ( 1. ) Express texts of scripture. ( 2. ) 
Collateral texts. ( 3. ) The experience of Christians. 

The first argument is drawn from such express 
texts of scripture as these : 

1st Text, Zech. xii. 10. " I will pour out on the 
house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, a 
Spirit of grace and of supplications.'' Here the Holy 
Spirit of God is called a Spirit of supplications, with 
respect to the special operations and ends for 
which he is here promised. The plentiful com- 
munications of his operations^to men is often ex- 
pressed hy pouring him out upon them, as Isa. 
xliv. 3. Prov. i. 23. Tit. iii. 6. and many other 
places. Now that this prophecy refers to the times 
of the gospel is evident, because the effect of it is 
a looking to Christ as pierced or crucified. <' They 
shall look op him whom they have pierced.'' 

ObjecUan, Some will say, this promise only 
refers to the Jews at the time of their conversioD. 

Answer. Most of these exceeding great and pre- 
cious promises that relate to gospel times, are inade 
expressly to Jacob and Israel, and Jerusalein and 
SioD, in the languid of die Old Testament: and 


bow dreadfully should we deprive ourselves, and 
all the Gentile believers, of all these gracious prom- 
ises at one stroke, by such a confined exposition ! 
Whereas the apostle Paul sometimes takes occasion 
to quote a promise of the Old Testament made to 
the Jews, and applies it to the Gentiles ; as 2 Cor. 
Vi. 16, 17, 18. " I will dwell with them and walk 
among them, and I will be their God, and they shall 
be my people ; " which is written for the Jews, in 

Lev. xrvi. 12. Cotne out from among them 

touch no unclean thing and I will be a Father 

to you, &c. which are recited from Isa. lii. 11, and 
Jer. xxxi. 1, 9. where Israel alone is mentioned. 
And yet, in 2 Cor. vii. 1. the apostle says, " Having 
therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us 
cleanse ourselves.'^ &c. And thus he makes the 
Corinthians, as it werf*, possessors of these very 
promises. He gives also much encouragement to 
do the same, when he tells us, Rom. xv. 4. ** What- 
soever things were written aforetime, were written » ^ 
for our learning, that we, through patience, and 
comfort of the scriptures, might have hope." And 
ver. 8, 9, he assures us, that Jesus' Christ confirms 
the promises made to the fathers, that the Grentiles 
may glorify God for his mercy. Again, in 2 Cor. 
L 20. All the promises of God in him are yea and 
in him amen, to the glory of Grod. Now it would 
have been to very little purpose to have told the 
Romans or the Corinthians of the stability of all 
the promises of God, if their faith might not hav« 
embraced them. 


We are said to be blessed with faithful Abraham, 
if we are imitators of his fitith. Ghd. iii. 29. If we 
are Christ's, then are we Abraham's seed, and hein 
according to the promise ; heirs by faith of the same 
blessings that are promised to Abraham, and to his 
seed. Rom. iv. l^i. Now this very promise, the 
promise of the Spirit, is received by us Gentiles, as 
heirs of Abraham. Gal. iii. 14. That the blessing of 
Abraham might come on the Gentiles through 
Jesus Christ, that we might receive the promise of 
the Spirit through faith. Being interested, these- 
fore, in this covenant, we have a right to the same 
promises, so far as they contain grace in them, that 
they may be properly communicated to us ; and 
therefore the house of David, in this prophecy of 
Zechariah, doth not only signify the natural de- 
scendants of David the king, but very properly in- 
cludes the family of Christ, the true David ; believ- 
ers that are his children, and inhabitants of Jerusa^ 
lem, and members of the tnie church, whether they 
were originally Jews or Gentiles : for in Christ 
Jesus men are not known by these distinctions; 
there is neither Jew nor Greek. Gal. iii. 28. 

2d Textk Luke xi. 13. Afler Christ had answered 
the request of his disciples, and taught them how to 
pray, by giving them a pattern of prayer, he recom- 
mends them to ask his Father for the Holy Spirit, 
in order to a fuller and farther assistance and in- 
struction in this work of prayer, as the whole con- 
text seems to intimate. 

3d Text. Bom. viii. 26. «* The Spirit helpeth our 
iaiSrmirles, for we know iioxn«iV\^\.\q v^ay for as we 


ought ; but the Spirit itself maketh intercessioii fbr 
U8 with groanings, which cannot be uttered." This 
cannot be interpreted as though the Holy Spirit 
assumed the work of Christ, who is our proper Ihi- 
tercessor and Advocate; for the Spirit, not being . 
ek>thed with human namre, cannot properly be 
|iq>resented under such an inferior character as the 
nature of prayer or petition seems to imply; where- 
aa our Lord Jesus Christ, being man as well as 
God, may properly assume the character of a Peti- 
tioner. The business of the Holy Spirit, therefore, 
is, to teach and help us to plead with God in 
prayer, for the things which iVe want. And this 
will appear evidently by the next scripture. 

4th Text Gal.; iv. 6. " God hath sent the Spirit 
of his Son into , our hearts, crying Abba, Father.** 
That is, the Spirit of God inclines and teaches us to 
address God in prayer as our Father. A^d so it is 
explained, Rom. viii. 15. ^'Ye have received the 
spirit of adoption, whereby we cry Abba, Father.** 
It may be noted here, that this spirit of adoption 
belongs to every true Christian, in more or less 
degrees, otherwise the apostle's reasoning would 
not appear strong and convincing. ^ Because ye are 
sons, he hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son," &c. - 

5th Text. Eph. vi. "Praying always with all 
prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching 
thereunto with all perseverance." "These words, ew 
p:»eymati (in the Spirit,) have reference to the 
work of the Spirit of Grod in us ; for so the word 
EJf pjfEYBUTi signifies in other places in the New 


Testament ; Matt xiL 21. ** I cast out devils i 
Spirit of God." Luke iL 97. ^'He came by the 
into the temple." 1 Cor. xii. 8, 9. ^ To one ie 
by the Spirit, the word of wisdom; to m 
knowledge, by the same Spirit," &c. In thie 
of the Epistle to the Ephesians, it caunot pr 
signify praying with our own spirit; that is 
the intention of our own minds, because that 
to be implied in the next words, watching 

Objection, Some will say still, that this pi 
in the spirit was to be performed by an ei 
dinary gift, which was communicated to the 
ties, and many others in the fii^ age of Chr 
ity. Something like the gift of tongues at ] 
cost, and various gifts among the Corinthians, 
they prayed, and preached, and sung by ir 
tion. See 1 Cor. xiv. 

Ansioer, Whatsoever there wasofextraon 
and miraculous communications of the Sp 
those first days of tlie gospel, we pretend not 
same now. But the assistances of the Spirit m 
of we speak are, in some measure, attainal 
Christians in all ages: for in this, Eph. \ 
praying in the Spirit is enjoined on all bel 
and at all times, with all sorts of prayer. No 
not to be supposed, that at all times, and in all 
of prayer, Christians should have this e:^traor 

We may also further remark, that the | 

prayer itself is not expressed as such an exti 


imy and miraculous gift ; neither in the prophecy 
>f Joel, chap. ii. nor in Acts, chap. ii. where that 
prophecy of Joel is accomplished ; nor is it men- 
doned particularly in the epistles of Sl Paul, 
among the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit, in 
those places, where they are enumerated. But only 
te gift of prayer in an unknown tongue, seems to 
be spoken of in 1 Cor. xiv. which rather refers to 
&e gift of tongues than to that of prayer. And it is 
not unlikely, that the omission, or silence of the gift 
(^prayer in those texts, might be designed for this 
▼cry purpose, viz. that though there were gifts of 
prayer by immediate inspiration in those days$ 
yet that there should be no bar laid against the ex- 
pectation of Christians, in all ages, of some divine 
assistances in prayer, by a pretence that this was 
only an extraordinary gift' to the apostles, and the 
fiist Christians. 

6th Text. James v. 16, wliich we translate, the 
effectual fervent prayers of the righteous. In the 
Qri§^nal it is, dees is enerloemene, the inwrought 
prayer. The word is used to signify persons pos- 
sessed wHh a good or evil spirit ; and it signifies 
liere prayer wrought in us by the good Spirit that 
possesses us, that leads us and guides u^ — ^AiM the 
word is used in this sense several times in 1 Cor. 
zL where the gifts of the Holy Spirit are spoken of. 
Yet let it be observed, that here the apostle is 
speaking of such an inwrought prayer as all Chris- 
tians might be capable of; for his e])istle is directed 
to all the scattered tribes of Israel, Jam. L 1, and he 
bids ihem all confess their &ulta to oii^ «xi^3iOckKt^ 



that they might he healed ; and for thiii reason, be- t 
came the inwrought prayer of the righteotu avail- ^ 
eth much. 

The last text I shall mention is Jude, ver. 201 
^ Praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the 
loveofGod.'' Now this epistle is written to all that 
are sanctified by God the Father, preserved and 
called in Jesus Christ, ver. 1. They are all directed 
to pray by the assistance of the Holy Ghost — ^And 
those who have not this Spirit, in ver. 19, are said 
to be sensual. 

1 confess, the . Holy Spirit hath been, in a great s 
measure, so long departed from his churches, that f. 
we are tempted to think that all his operations in ex- 
hortations, in prayer and preaching, belong only to 
the first age of Christianity, and to the extraordinary 
ministers, prophets and apostles ; and it was fi^m | 
this absence of the Spirit, that men proceeded to 
invent various methods to supply the want of him 
in prayer, by pater-nosters, beads, litanies, respon- 
ses, and otlier forms, some good and some bad, to 
which they confined the churches, to keep up the 
form of worship, and the attention of the people ; 
and at best, we are lefl by many teachers to the use 
of our mere natural powers, our rei^on, and memo- 
ly: and hence spring those reproachful expres- 
nons about the spirit of prayer, and the endless 
labor of men to make this word signify only the 
temper and disposition of the mind : so the spirit 
of adoption, in their sense, is nothing but a child- 
like temper ; ^d the spirit of prayer means nothing 
else but a praying franxe of Ue^xVx 


But since some texts expressly speak of the Holy 
Spirit, as workiDg these things in us, since in many 
criptures the Spirit of God is promised to be 
[Kven us, to dwell in us, and be in us, and to assist 
n prayer; why should we industriously exclude 
lim from the hearts of the saints, and thrust him 
Mit of those Scriptures wherever the words wilK 
possibly endive any other sense ? * 

It is, in my opinion, much more natural and rea* 
Bonable for us to interpret those places whqre the 
Spirit is mentioned, according to the plain lan- 
guage of clear texts, where the name of God's own 
Spirit is written. 

However, if a man will but allow the Spirit of 
God, and his assistances in prayer to be mentioned 
in any one text of scripture, so far as to be persua- 
ded and encouraged thereby to seek those assistan- 
ces that he may pray better, I will not be angry 
with him, though he cannot find this Spirit in every 
text, where others believe he is spoken of and 

n. The second argument, for the aids of the 
Holy Spirit in prayer, is drawn from collateral 
scriptures ; and such are all those texts which rep- 
resent the blessed Spirit as the spring of all that is 
good in us, and show us that all other duties of the 
Christian life, are to be performed in and by this 
Holy Spirit. Saints are bom of this S[>irit, John iii. 
6. Are led by the Spirit, Rom. viii. 14. Walk in 
the Spirit, Gal. v. 16. Live in the Spirit, verse 25. 
By this Spirit mortifying the deeds of the body, 
Rom. viii. 13. The Spirit convmces f>i ^vok^\^^^s\ 

180 PROors OF THE spirit's aid. 

XfL 9, and fhsus for confeflBioD. The Spirit 
witoesBeth with our tsjpmt^ that we are the children 
of God, Rom. viii. Id and thereby fumishes us 
unth thanksgivings. The Spirit sanctifies m and 
fills us with lore, and faith, and .humility; and 
erery grace that is needful iq the woik of prayer. 
Why then should men take so much pains to hin- 
der us from praying by the Spirit, when it is only 
by the Spirit we can' walk with €rod, and have ac- 
cess toXrod ? £ph. iL 18. 

III. The tkird argumenty to prove that the Spirit 
of Grod doth sometimes assist men in the woik of 
prayer, is the experience of all Christians, witb 
regard to the grace of pra^'er; and many Chris- 
dans iu the exercise of the gift of it too. The great 
difference that is between some believers and odi- 
ors, in this respect, even where their natural abilities 
are equal ; and the difterence that is between believ- 
ers themselves, at different times and seasons, 
seeniH to denote tlie presence or absence of the 
Holy Spirit. Some persons, at some special sea- 
sons, will break out into a diyine rapture in prayer, 
and be carried far beyond themselves ; their 
thoughts, their desires, their language, and every 
thing that belongs to their prayer, seem to have 
•oinething of heaven in them. 

1 will allow that, in some persons, this may be 
ascribed to a great degree of understanding, inven- 
tion, fancy, memory, and natural affections of the 
mind, and volubility of the tongue ; but many times 
alao, it shall be observed, that those persons, who 
A JVC thiB gift of prayeT in exetc^B^^ ^<^ xioiv. cyl^^V wqt 


equal the rest of their neighbors in &ncy^ invention, 
passion or eloquence ; it may be they are persons 
of very mean parts, and below the conmion ca- 
pmcity of mankind. 

Nor can it be always imputed to an overflow of 
animal nature, and warm imagination at those times 
"when they are carried out in prayer thus beyond 
themselves; for ^is happens, sometimes,, when 
they find their natural spirits not raised nor exalt- 
ed; but the powers of nature labor perhaps, under 
a decay and great languishing ; and they can hardly 
speak or think about common affairs. I wish these 
testimonies to the aids of the Holy Spirit were more 
frequent amongst us. >. 

Ruction. And it may be remarked, that those 
who despise this gift of the Holy Spirit, will deride 
the persons that pretend to any share of it, as fool- 
ish, stupid, and ignorant ; and will represent them 
generally as unlearned and sottish, dull and un- 
thinking; and yet when this objection is made, 
whence comes this fluency, this fervor, and this 
wonderful ability of pouring out the soul before 
God in prayer, which the scoffers themselves 
cannot imitate? Oh, then it is attributed to our 
wit, our memory, our invention, our fancy, our 
vehement affections, our confidence or impudence ; 
to any thing raiher than to the Spirit of God, be- 
caose they are resolved to oppose his power, and 
deny his work in the hearts of believers. 

I might here add citations fix)m the articles and 
Htiugy of the church of England, to confirm the 
doctrine of the aids of the Holy Spirit in our reli* 


gious perforfnance& We have no power to do 
good works, pleasant and acceptable to €rod, with- 
out the grace of God by Christ preventing us, that 
we may have a good will, and woridng with ui 
when we have that good will. Art. ip. The woridng 
of the spirit drawing up the mind to high and hear- 
enjy things. Art 17. And this ordinary woik of 
the Holy Spirit in all believers, is called the inspi- 
ration of the Holy Spirit Art. 13. O Grod, ftom 
whom all holy desires, all good counsels, and aD 
just works do proceed : Second Collect at evening 
prayer. And a little after: Almighty Grod, who haH 
given us grace to make our common supplicationB. 
And in the collect, the fifth Sunday after Easter. 
Grant that, by thy inspiration, we may think thoee 
things that be good, and, by thy merciful guiding, h 
may perform the same. Again, Almighty God, of |i 
whose only gift it cometh that thy faithful people 
do unto thee true and laudable service, 13th Sun- 
day after Trinity. Grant that thy Holy Spirit 
may in all things direct and rule our hearts, 19th 
Sunday after Trinity. Homily 16th p. 1, 2, asserts 
the secret and mighty working of Grod's Holy Spirit 
which is within us ; for it is the Holy Ghost, and 
no other thing, stirring up good and godly motions 
in their hearts. Many more expressions of this 
kind might h% collected from the homilies and 
public prayers of the church of England ; so dnt 
one would think none of that communion should 
throw reproach and scandal u|)on the assistances of 
the Holy Spirit in good works and religtouf dutai } 



It 18 evident, theD, that there is such a thing as the 
•Mistance of the Spirit of God in the work o£ 
prayer ; but how far this assistance extends is a 
fiorther subject of inquiry ; and it is very necessary 
to have a just notion of the nature and bounds of 
tfads diyine influence, that we may not expect more 
tfaan Grod has promised, nor sit down negligently 
eootented, without such degrees as may be at- 

Persons in this, as in most other cases, are very 
ready to run away with extremes. They either 
attribute too much or too Uttle to the Holy Spirit. 

In my judgment, those persons attribute too little 
ta the Spirit of Prayer, 

1. Who say there is no more assistance to be ex- 
ficted in prayer, than in any ordinary and common 
affair of life ; as when the ploughman breaks the 
ek>d8 of his ground, and casts in the wheat and the 
barley, his Grod (loth instruct him to discretion, and 
taach him. Isa. xxviii. 24, 25, 26. But this is, in 
afieeti to deny his special influences. 

2l Those who allow the Spirit of God merely to 
tscede some holy motions in the heart while they pray, 
ind to awaken something of grace unto ezercisei 
■eeording to the words of a prayer ; bat diat he 
daai nothing towards ouf obtaining the abifity or 
fg& «f praymg; nor at all assistB us in the exec- 


ciae of the gift with proper matter, method, or 

I persuade myself, the scriptures cited in the 
foregoing section, concerning praying in the Spirit, 
can never be explained this way, in their ftiU mean- 
ing ; and I hope to make it apparent in this section, 
that the Holy Spirit hath more hand in prayer than 
both these opinions allow. 

I think, also, on the other hand, those persons 
expect too much from the Spirit in our day, 

1. Wh»'waUfor all their inclinations to pray^frw 
immediate and present dictates of the Spirit ^ CSIod; 
who will never pray but when the Spirit moves 
them. I find in scripture, frequent exhortations to 
pray, and commands to pray always ; L e. to pray 
upon all occasions; yet I find no promise nor 
encouragement to expect the Holy Spirit will, by 
sudden and immediate impulses in a sensible way, 
dictate to me every season of prayer. For though 
the Spirit of Grod should sometimes withdraw him- 
self in his influences, yet my duty and obligation to 
constant prayer still remain. 

2. Those who expect such aids of the Holy Spirit^ 
as to make their prayers become the proper work of 
inspiration ; such as the prayers of David and 
Moses, and others recorded in scripture. Let us 
not be so fond as to persuade ourselves that 
these workings of the Holy Spirit in ministers or in 
common Christians, while they teach^ or exhort, or 
pray, arise to the character of those miraculous 
ipfts that were given to the apostles and primitivo 
believers; such as are described in the chui«h of 



Collutb, and elsewhere. *. For at those times, a 
whole sermoD, or a whola prayer together, was a 
constant imt>u]se of the lA^Iy Spirit, perhaps^ for 
the words as well as all the matter of it, which 
made it truly divine. But in our prayers, the 
Spirit of Grod leaves us a great deal to ourselves, to 
mingle many weaknesses and defects with our 
duties, in the matter, and in the manner, and in th« 
words ; so that we cannot say of one Whole sen- 
tence, that it is the perfect or the pure work of the 
Spirit of God. And iVe should run the danger of 
blasphemy, to entitle the Spirit of God to every 
thing that we speak in prayer, as weU as to exclude 
all his assistance from all the prayers of the saints^ 
in our day. 

3. Those who hope for such influence of ike Spirii 
as to render their oum study and labors needless; 
who never have given diligence to furnish them- 
selves in a rational way with an ability to pray, 
upon presumption of those divine impulses; nor 
upon any occasion will premeditate heforehand, 
bat rush upon the duty, as Peter went out at 
Christ's command to walk upon the water, and 
hope to be upheld and carried through all the duty 
without their own forethought; they will cite the 
text which was given to the disciples ; ** When 
they deliver you up, take no thought how or what 
ye shall speak; for it shall be given you in that 
•ame hour what you shall speak." Mat x. 19. But 
fhia text has quite another design. 

It may be questioned, whether this word of 
Cfai;^ foifoids them all premeditation^ bun onl^ «k 


anxious and solicitous fear and care, as we are, Ind 
to take no thought for the morrow ; Mat tL 34. L e. 
be not over solicitous or disquieted about proTision 
for the morrow. But if Christ did utterly forbid 
them all preparation, yet that command and prom- 
ise to the apostles in miraculous times, when ihej 
sliould appear before magistrates, can never be 
given to encourage the sloth and laziness of eveiy 
common Christian in our day, when he appears in 
worship before God. 

Now, in order to find the happy medium between 
these two extremes, of attributing too much or too 
little to the Spirit of prayer, I have diligently con- 
sulted the word of God : and so far as I am able to 
judge or determine, his assistance in prayer may be 
reduced to the following particulars. 

I. He bestows upon us our natural capcuities ; 
some degree of understanding, judgment, memoiy, 
invention, and natural affections ; some measure of 
confidence, and liberty of speech, and readiness to 
utter the conceptions of our mind. 

And this he doth to believers in commcm with 
other men ; for every good gift comes from Gfod. 
' James, i. 17. And in a particular manner, the 
third Person in the Trinity, the Holy Ghost, is 
generally represented as the Agent in such opera- 
tions, especially where they relate to religion. 

II. He blesses our diligence in reading, heca^ingf 
meditaHon, study, and attempts at prayer ; whereby, 
while we attend to usefbl rules and instructions, 
we treasure up a store of matter for this duty, and 
learn hy degrees to exptesa our thoughts with 


prq^ety and decency, to our own and othejn' 
edification. ^ 

Thus he adds a blessing to our studies, in order 
to grow in the knowledge of the things of God aa 
Christians ; and in the learning of tongues to inter- 
pret scripture ; and in the holy skill of exhortation, 
in order to become al^le ministers. 

As these are called spirittud gifts, because, (as is 
before shown,) in the primitive times, they were 
given on the sudden, in an extraordinaiy manner, 
without laborious study to acquire them ; but in our 
day, these are to be obtained and improved by la- 
bor and use, by repeated trials, by time and ex- 
perience, and the ordinary blessings of the Spirit of 
Grod: and the same must be said concerning the 
gifl 'of prayer. He sanctifies memory to treasure 
up such parts of the Holy Scriptures as are proper 
to be used in prayer ; he makes it faithful to retain 
them, and ready in the recollection of them at prop- 
er seasons. If men become skilful in any faculty, 
and especially in that which belongs to religion, it 'w 
justly attributed to Grod and his Spirit ; for if he 
teaches the ploughman to manage wisely in sowing 
and reaping, Isa. xxviii. 26, 29, much more doth he 
teach the Christian to pray. He divides fo eveiy 
one what gifls he pleases, and works according to 
bis good pleasure, 1 Cor. xii. from ver. 4 to ver. 
11. All secondary helps and means, when well 
attended to and well applied, are made successful 
by his powerful benediction. And we may say to 
those Christians who have the greatest gifis in 
prayer^ " Who made thee to differ iitaixv wxss^^'i 


And what hast thou that thou hast not received?" 
1 Gor. iv. 7. For if we live not by bread alone, 
but by every word of power and blessing that pro- 
ceeds froip the mouth of God, Matt. iv. 4, much 
more may we say concerning the spiritual impro?e- 
ments of the mind, that they are not attained by our 
labor alone, but by the good Spirit of God making 
our labor prosperous. ^ 

III. He inclines over hearts to prajf, and keeps 
them intent upon the toork. By nature there is in 
men an estrangedness from God : and there is too 
much of it remaining in the best There is a natu- 
ral reluctance to the duties of immediate commun- 
ion with God, and a weariness in them. It is only 
the Spirit of God that works a heavenly frame in 
us, that makes us ready to pray always ; and ex- 
cites us to take occasion from the several concerns 
of our souls, or from the affairs of life, to go to the 
mercy-seat, and to abide there. It is he that kindly 
and secretly suggests, "now is the accepted time." 
The Spirit says to the soul secretly, "seek my 
face ; " and the soul replies, " thy face, O God, will 
I seek. " Ps, xxvii. 8. — The Spirit saith, come to 
God by prayer, as well as to Christ by faith. Rev. 
zxii. 19. It is he that enlarges the desires towards 
God, and gives silent intimations of audience and 
acceptance. By his good motions he overcomes 
our delay, and answers the carnal objections of our 
sinful and slothful hearts. He gives our spirits 
liberty for the work, as well as in it, and recals our 
thoughts from wandering from God in worship, 
whether they be drawn away V*^ ^iva «^^v^xqu£ 


ears, or our busy fancies, or the suggestions of the 
evil one. It is the Holy Spirit that holds us to the 
duty, in opposition to all discouragements, and 
makes us wrestle and strive with Go^ in prayer, 
pour out our hearts before him, and stir up our- 
selves to take hold of him, ageeable to die language 
of those scriptures, Cren. xxxii. ^, Rom. xv. 30, Ps. 
hoL 8, Isa. Ixiv. 7. Now the means which the 
Spirit of Grod generally uses to bring us to prayer, 
and keep us to the duty, is by working in oiur souls 
a lively sense of the necessity and advantage of it, 
or giving us some refreshment and delight in and 
by it. 

And if, when we are engaged in our worldly af- 
fairs, or in divine worship, the devil is permitted by 
sudden violent impressions on the &ncy, to draw 
our hearts aw;ay to sinful objects, why should it be 
counted a strange thing, that the blessed Spirit 
should cast in holy motions and encouragements to 
the duty. i 

rV. He qflentimeSf hy his secret te<iching8j supplies 
us unih the matter of prayer. This is the express 
language of Holy Scripture, Rom. viii. 26. *^The 
Spirit helpeth our infirmities; for we know not 
what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit itself 
maketh intercession for us," and that, accord- 
ing to the mind or will of God, ver. 27. All the 
senses that the wit of man has contrived to put 
upon this scripture, to exclude the work of the 
Spirit of God, are very much forced and strained, 
to make them signify any thing else. 


It is plain that we ^ hww not whtd is good^ for 
ourselves, Eccles. Ti. 12, and we of ourselves should 
often ask for things hurtful to us, James iv. 3w We 
are not acquainted with our own wants, nor the 
method of our relief. It is the Spirit that must eon- 
vince us of sin and righteousness; of our sin; and 
the righteousness of Christ, John xvi. '9. He is a 
Spirit of illumination in all the affain of religion: 
it is he alone that searches the deep things of God, 
that knows what God hath prepared for believers, 
1 Cor. ii. 9. And therefore he makes intercession, 
or teaches us to pray for things agreeably to the 
divine will and purpose. He now and then also 
gives a hint of some argument to plead with God; 
either the name or mediation of Christ, or some of 
his own promises in the Grospel : for he is promised 
to take of the things of Christ and shew them unto 
us, John xiv. 26, and John xvi. 13, 14, 15. It is he 
that brings divine things to our remembrance : such 
things as are suited to the several parts of prayer. 
He sets the glory and the majesty of Grod before 
our eyes, and furnishes us with matter of adoration. 
By bringing sin to our remembrance, he fits us for 
confession: and by caning us to reflect on our 
many mercies, richly supplies us with thanksgiv- 

Now, since the evil spirit is said to pluck the 
good seed of the word of Grod out of the heart, 
Matt xii. 19, why may we not suppose the good 
Spirit to put good thoughts into the heart, to pre- 
pare and furnish us for such a duty as prayer ? And 
Buch kind of influences aa these^ ore called the 


Ifood motknii of the Spirit of God ; which Chris 
tiaiifl of almost every sect and persuasion will allow, 
in some degree. 

y. ffhen the Spirit of God svppliti us largd^ 
wiffi mafUr in prayer^ he doth in some measttre it^U" 
eitce Ike fndhod too. 

Method is but the disposition of the materials of a 
prayer, one after another. Now, as it is impossible 
our tongues should speak all these together, so it is 
not possible our mind should receive all the kind 
faintBofthem ftom the^ Spirit at once, butsucces- 
srrdy one after another, as seems good to him. 
Sometimes he fills our souls with so deep and peni- 
tent a sense of our past sins, ttiat we break out be* 
fore God into humble confessions in the very begin- 
ning of prayer: "O Lord, I am vile, whatshalll 
answer thee ? Mine iniquities are gone over my 
head, and the number of them is infinite. " And 
perhaps the soul dwells upon its humiliations 
through almost all the time of worship. 

At another time the Spirit works as the Spirit of 
joy and thanksgiving: and the first words the hps 
utter, are the language of gratitude and praise; 
<*I thank thee. Father, Lord of heaven and earth, 
tiiat, though the mysteries of the gospel are hidden 
firom tiiie wise and prudent, yet thou hast revealed 
them unto babes." 

Sometimes the soul is so infiamed with derire 
after such a particular grace, or mortification of 
sofflie apeo^al sin, that almost fivm every part of 
pmyer, firom adoration, cbn&ssion, thttbksgiving, 
iic it will fetch some, argument for beatowin^^ that 


mercy, and al erery tum^ iDBert that special petition, 
enforcing it with new arguments and pleadings* 

Thus, though the beautiful connection of one 
sentence with another, and the smooth and eafj 
transition fix>m one part of prayer to another, be 
left much to ourselves, yet the mere order of those 
materials which the Holy Spirit gives in white we 
pray, will be in some degree under his direction or 
influence. And if we may understand those wordu 
of Elihu, in a literal sense. Job xxxvii. 19, we hare 
need of asastance in matter,, method, and eveiy 
thing, when we speak to God ; and may well cry 
out, " Lord, teach us what we should say to thee; 
for we cannot order our speech by reason of daik- 
ness : " we need light and instruction from thee to 
frame our speeches, and to put them in order* 

VI. llie Spirit may be said to give some assis- 
tance also totoard apt and proper expression in proj/- 
er. For he concurs in an ordinary way to the ex- 
ercise of our natural and acquired faculties of 
knowledge, memory, vivacity of spirit, readiness of 
speech, and holy confidence whereby we ezpren 
those thoughts which he hath excited in us in a 
becoming manner. And this he doth also in 
preaching and conferring upon the things of God, 
and this mora eminendy in the work of prayer; so 
that hereby a believer is able at times to pour out 
his soul befbre God, with a fuhiess of thought and 
variety of expression, to the gieat comfort of his 
own soul, and the edification of his feUoWowonldp* 
pen. St Paul speaks ofthis boldness and utteranee 
as a spiritual f^ 1 Cor. L 5, and 3 Coa imL 7. 


And he oflen prayed for this confidence and free- 
dom of speech, this farrbsia in preachings £l^. 
yi. 19 ; Col. iv. 3, 4. And we also have reason to 
ask it of God in prayer; for it is as necessary also 
in that duty for carrying on the work of grace in 
our hearts, and the building up oi the church, the 
body of Christ for which all gifls are given. 
1 might add also, that, as the Holy Spirit fire- 
I quently, by secret hints, supplies us with the matter 
of prayer, be by that very means assists us toward 
expression ; for expression is but the clothing of our 
thoughts or ideas in proper words. Now, in this 
state, where the soul and body are so united, the 
most part of the ideas and conceptions of our mind 
are so joined to words, that words arise, as it Were, 
mingled with those ideas or conceptions, which the 
Holy Spirit awakens within us. — ^And we may 
humbly hope, that when he hath given us some 
secret whispers what we should pray for, he will at 
least so fo enable us to use proper expressions, as 
mssf convey the same thoughts and matter to those 
who join with us in worship. 

Especially when proper materials of prayer are 
fafooght to our mind in scripture expressions, in 
■ome sense these are words ^which the Holy Ghost 
teacheth ;** that Spirit which is promised to bring to 
our remendnance the things which Christ hath 
taught us. But this is more evidently so at that 
tkaey when, together with these expresnons, the 
fsaoes of pn^er are wrought op to a lively exercise, 
which is^ the next step, of the assistance' of the 



VII. He txciie$ ikoie graces tn ««, wkUk are twUd 
to the duty of prayer. He spiritualizes our natunJ 
afTections, and fixes them on proper objects, and 
enlarges and heightens their activity. When sin it 
recollected, he awakens anger, shame and sorrow: 
when Go<l is revealed to the mind in glory and jus- 
tice, he overspreads the soul with holy awe, and 
humble fear. When the Lord Jesus Christ and his 
redemption, are upon the thoughts, the Holy Spirit / 
warms and raises our desire and love. We are in 
ourselves cold and dead^ to spiritual things; he 
makes us lively in prayer, and holds us to the 
work ; he b^ets a holy reverence of God while wt 
adore him; he works in us delight in God, and 
longing desires after him ; fervency anH importunity 
in our petitions for spiritual mercies, submissioB 
and resignation to the will of God in temporal 
things ; faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, and hope in 
the promises of the Okwpel, while we plead with 
God for an answer to our prayers ; he fills us also 
with holy joy and exultation in God, while w* 
recollect in prayer his glories or his benefits, and 
awakens all the springs of thankfiihiess. 'As these 
qualities in their first operation, are attributed to tba 
Spirit of God, (whicli is not my present business to 
prove,) so in their constant exercise in eveiy duty, 
they want his fiuther assistance and efiicacy, sinee 
of ourselves an apostle could say, ^ we are not sufiBi- 
cient for one good thought ; " ] Cor. iii. 5, but all 
our sufficiency is of Grod. It is God of his good 
pleasure, worketh in us both to will and to do. PhiL 
iL 13, He gave ub ^cere aims and designs in our 


petitiops; for as to the manner of our prayers, 
there is the assistance of the Spirit necessary, as 
well as to the matter ; and it is hinted in the text 
before cited, Rom. viii. 26, We know not what to 
pray for as we ought, but the Spirit helpeth us. 
He influence!^ our minds with a true and upright 
aim at the glory of God and our salvation; for 
otherwise we are ready to ^sk good things amiss, 
tfTat we may spend them on our lusts. James iv. 3. 

This work of the Spirit in awakening our graces, 
(though it be mentioned last,) yet it often begins 
before the prayer, and precedes his other influ- 
ences, or our own labor in speaking to God. 

Thus have I delivered my sentiments at large, 
concerning the extent of the influences of the 
Spirit of God in prayer, and have shown how he 
qualifies us habitually for prayer, actually disposes 
and prepares us for it, and gives us present assist- 
ance in it. And after all, I would say, that the most 
considerable and common assistance in prayer, 
which is peculiarly attributed to the blessed Spirit, 
as a Spirit of- prayer, and may be expected fixmi 
him in our day, consists chiefly in this, the putting 
our souls into a praying frame, the stirring up holy 
motions and breathings after God, giving secret 
hints of our real wants, and of arguments and 
promises to plead vvith God^ awakening the graces 
of love, fear,^ hope and joy, that are suited to this 
duty ; and it is chiefly upon this account that he is 
ealled' a Spirit of grace and supplication. When 
these are raised to a high degree, the heart will 
faaye a natural influence upon the \xweixii<(^Ti '\!ck^ 


memory, the language, aud the voice. Out of the 
abundance of the heart the mouth will speak. 
And, for the most part, the utterance will be pro- 
portionable to the degree of inward affection, and to 
the natural and acquired abilities of the person that 
prays ; excepting some rare and glorious instances, 
where men are carried beyond themselves, by the 
uncommon presence of die Divine Spirit. 

I might venture upon this subject, to make an 
address to those persons who will entertain nothing 
iu rehgion but what appears agreeable to principles 
of reason and philosophy, and yet have taken liber- 
ty to scoff at divine assistances, in the duty of 
prayer. Let me entreat you, sirs, to tell me what 
there is in this doctrine that is unreasonable to 
assert, or unbecoming a philosopher to believe? 
If the great God has required levery man to pray, 
and will hear and reward the humble and sincen 
worshipper, why may we not suppose he is so com- 
passionate as to help us in this work which 'he re- 
quires ? Is he not full of goodness, and ready to 
accept those smners that return to him ? And why 
■hall not the same goodness incline him to aasifll 
those that deure and attempt a return ! Why may 
he not by secret impressions draw out &rthertb« 
desires of the soul that already breathes after him» 
when he sees the Spirit willing and feeble ; and 
thus sweetly encourage the worship ^e delights in,, 
and prepare his servants for his own lewaid? 

This address may be teptaUd to ChrMans thai 
.prqfess the doctrine cf ih£ Holy TrtnUy^ trith much 
mom font and argym/tntfDo you believe the AX- 


mighty Grod sent his own Son to teach us how to 
pray? And when we are taught the right way, 
why may not his own Spirit assist in the perform- 
ance ? Hath Jesus Christ purchased heaven for us, 
and may not the Spirit he permitted to incline us to 
ask for that heaven, and awaken our desires to seek 
it ? When the Son of God saw us perishing in 
guilt and misery, did he descend, and reheve, and 
save us, by dying for us ? And when the Spirit of 
God beholds a poor creature willing to receive this 
relief and salvation, and yet is afraid to venture into 
the presence of an offended God, why may he not 
give secret hints of encouragement, and draw out 
the addresses of the heart and lips to a God that is 

willing to pardon? ^Wheri he sees an humble 

sinner laboring and striving to break through 
temptations, to lay aside vain thoughts, to put car- 
nal things far away fl-om the mind, and to converse 
with Grod alone, why may he not impress some 
divine thoughts upon him, stir up devout and 
strong affections, make him surmount his difficul- 
^es, and raise him a little towards his heavenly 
Father? Since he has given him faculties, of 
memory, invention and speech, why may he not 
assist those faculties when directed toward him- 
selfj and make them swifter and warmer in their 
advances towards God? To what purpose is the 
blessed Spirit mentioned so often in the New Tes 
tament as one that helps forward the salvation of 
men ? To what purpose does he sustain so many 
characters and offices of scripture ? And to what 
end is he bo often promised to CVit\?towa^ V^ \» 


with them, and dwell in them, as a most glorious 
blessing of the gospel, if he be not permitted to do 
so much as this in assisting men to draw near to 
their Maker, and helping the children of God on 
earth to converse with their Father who is in 
heaven ? Now, if such condescensions as these are 
not unworthy of the blessed God, why should it be 
unworthy ot man or a Christian to believe them, 
and hope for them ! 



There are many practical cases that arise upon 
this subject, of the assistance of the Spirit of prayer, 
which exercise the thoughts of honest and pious 
persons. It is not iny purpose here to enlarge in 
this way ; yet that I may prevent or obviate some 
difficulties, I would lay down these few cautions: 

I. First Caution. Do not believe aU manner of 
impvlseg or urf(ent impreasioiis of the mind to go and 
pray^ proceed always from the blessed Spirit 

Sometimes the mere terrors of conscience, awa- 
kened under a sense of guilt and danger will uige 
a natural man to go to prayer. So the sailors in Jo- 
nah's ship, when surprised with a storm, each of them 
fell a praying.— 'Though the Spirit of God in his 
own operations, makes much use of the consciences 
of men to carry on his own work ; yet when these 
inward impulses to pray «xiae>' m<6^x«lY ^^^ eom» 

spirit's influence. 199 

affiighting pmyidenee, or sudden conviction, and^ 
torment of mind, and thus drag us into the pres* 
ence of God, without any assistance and strength to 
perfi>rm the duty, and without much regard to the 
success of the duty, we may jusdy fear the Holy 
Spirit of €rod hath not much hand in such imr 
pulses ; for he both assists in the duty, and makes 
us solicitous about the success of it 

Sometimes Satan himself may so far transform 
himself into an angel of light, as to hurry and im- 
pel a perscm to go and pray. — ^But his impulses are 
generally violent and unreasonable. When we are 
engaged in some other business that is the proper 
duty of that season, he tyranically commands, in 
a moment, to leave all, and go aside and pray. 
But the Spirit of Gk)d draws us to God at a fit sea- 
son, so as never to thrust out another neceraary 
duty toward Gk)d or toward men. He is a God of 
order, and his Spirit always excites to the proper 

duty of the hour ; ^wherefore Satan would but 

divert us from one business, by forcing us away to 
another, and then leave us to our own weakness in 
it, and vex us afterwards with accusations. 

II. Second Caution. Do not expect the u^flueneeg 
tfthe S^inrU of prayer shovld be so vehcMent arid stf^ 
siUe, as certainly to distingvish them from the sm* 
turns of your own spirits: for the Spirit of God gene- 
nlly acts towards his people agreeably to the dis- 
pensation under which they are, either in a more 
sensible, or a m3re imperceptible way. 

Under the Old Testament, the Spirit of God often 
carried the prophets away, as if it won ia sai 


ecttacy beyond themselves; their style, their fe§- 
ture, as well as inward commotions of heart, were 
frequently different from the common manner of 
men, and did sufficiently evidence to themselvn^ 
and in some measure, to others also, that they were 
under the impressions of the Holy Spirit at ppecial 

Under the J^ew Testament^ the apostles had a 
more constant and habitual assistance of the Spirit, 
though it was extraordinary also ; and in a calmer 
way were influenced in prayer and preaching more 
agreeable to rational nature; though, without doubt, 
they themselves well knew when they were under 
the certain conduct of the Holy Spirit. 

In our day, when we have no reason to expect 
extraordinary inspirations, the Spirit of God usually 
leads us in so soft and silent a manner, agreeable to 
the temper of our spirits, and concurrent circum- 
stances, of life, that his workings are not to he 
easily distinguished by oiu'selves or others, from the 
rational motions of our own hearts, influenced by 
moral arguments ; though by the whole tendency, 
and the sanctifying efiects, we know we had some 
assistance of the blessed Spirit. 

Such are his operations generally in convereion, 
sanctification and consolation ; be works so con- 
tinually and sweetly with our own spirits, that we 
cannot certainly distingiii^ his working by any 
vehemence or strength of impression : but it is best 
known by the savor and relish of divine things 
that we then feel in our souls, and by consequent 
fhuu of satisfiictioii in our hearts and lives. 

spibit's influence. 301 

III. Third Caution. Though we hoot not any 
sure ground io expect extraordinary influences from 
the l^inrit of prayer in our day, yet we ought not to 
deny them utterly; for God hath nowhere bound 
himself not to bestow them: the chief ends for 
which immediate inspirations were giren, are long 
ceased among us where the gospel is so well estab- 
lished : yet there have not been wanting instances 
in crery age, of some extraordinary testimonies of 
the Spirit of God to the truth of the gospel, both 
fbr the conviction of unbelievers, and for the in- 
struction, encouragement, and consolation of his 
own people. 

In the conversion of a sinner, the Spirit's work is 
usually gradual, and begun and carried on by prov- 
idences, sermons, occasional thoughts, and moi^l 
aiguments, from time to time, till at last the man is 
become a new creature, and resolves heartily to 
give himself up to Christ, according to the encour- 
agement of the gospel. Yet there are now and 
then some surprising and sudden conversions, 
wrought by the overpowering influences of the 
Holy Spirit, something like the conver^on of St. 

In the consolation of saints, the Spirit generally 
assists our own minds in comparing their hearts 
with the rule of the word, and makes it appear, 
they are the children of God, by finding the char- 
acters of adoption in themselves; this is his ordinary 
way of witnessing. But there are instances when 
the Spirit of God hath in a more immediate manner 
spoken consolation, and constrained tVie ^oox tx^xsv- 



bling believer to receive it ; and this hath been en- 
denced to be divine, by the humility and advancing 
holiness that hath followed iL 

So it is in prayer. The ordinary assistances of 
the Spirit, given in our day to ministers, or privato 
Christians, in their utmost extent, imply no move 
than what I have described in the foregoing chap* 
ter s but there are instances wherein the Spirit d 
€rod hath carried a devout person in worship fai 
beyond his own natural and acquired powers, in 
the exercise of the gift of prayer, and raised 
him to an uncommon and exalted degree of thfl 
exercise of praying graces, very near to those 
divine impulses, which the primitive Christiaiis 

If a minister in a public assembly has been ena- 
bled to make his addresses to God with such a flon 
of divine eloquence, and spread the cases of the 
whole assembly before the Lord in such expressivi 
language that almost every one present hath beet 
ready to confess, Surely he knew all my heart; i 
tliey have all felt something of a divine power at 
tending his words, drawing their hearts near to th< 
throne, and giving them a taste of heaven : ifeoD' 
ners have been converted in numbers, and saint 
have been made triumphant in grace, and receivec 
blessed advances towards glory; I would not b< 
afraid to say, '' Surely, God is in this place," presen 
with the extraordinary power and influence of hi 

If a Christian hath been taught by this Spin 
makiiig intercessioQ in him to plead with Grod foi 

spirit's influence. 203 

some particular mercy in such an unwonted strain 
of humble and heavenly argument, that he has 
foui^d in himself secret and inward assurances, that 
the mercy should be bestowed, by something of a 
prophetical impulse, and has never been mistaken ; 
if grace has been in vigorous exercise in the prayer, 
and afterward the success has always answered his 
expectation, I should not forbear to believe the 
extraordinary, presence of the Spirit of prayer with 
him at that season. Dr. Winter, in Ireland, and 
several ministers and private Christians of the last 
age in Scotland, are notable and glorious instances 
<^ this gracious appearance of the Holy Spirit. 

If a serious and humble worshipper, that hath 
long been seeking afler the knowledge of some 
divine truth, should find himself enlightened upon 
his knees with a beam of heavenly light shining 
upon that truth with most peculiar evidence, and 
teaching him more in one prayer than he had 
learned by months of labor and study; I should 
venture to acknowledge the immediate aids and 
answer of the Spirit of prayer and illumination. 
Luther is said to have enjoyed such divine favors, 
at the reformation of the church from popisE 

If a holy soul hath been conflicting with doubts 
and fears,' and waiting u^on God in all its appoint- 
ed ways of grace, seeking consolation and assurance 
of the love of God t if, while he hath been at the 
throne of grace, he has beheld God as his God, 
snuling and reconciled, and, as it were, seen the 
woik of God on his own heart, in a brig^ht and 


convincing light, and perhaps, hy some comfbrtahle 
word of scripture impressed on his thoughts, hath 
been assured of his love to God, and the love of 
Grod to him: if from that immediate sensation of 
divine love he has been filled with joy unspeakable, 
and full of glory, as well as warmed with heavenly 
zeal for the honor of God, his God and Father ; I 
must believe such a one to be seafed as a child 
of God, by the sweet influences of the Spirit of 
adoption, teaching him to pray, and cry, Abba 

But concerning such workings of the Spirit of 
God as these are, because there have been many 
vain and foolish pretences to them, I would make 
three remarks. 

1. These are rare instances, and bestowed by the 
Spirit of Grod in so sovereign and arbitrary a man- 
ner, according to the secret counsels of his own 
wisdom, that no particular Christian hath any sure 
ground to expect them. Though I am persuaded 
there are many more instances of them in secret, 
among pious and humble souls, than ever came to 
public notice. - 

2. They are best judged of, and distinguished 
from the mere effects of a warm fancy, and from 
the spirit of delusion, not so much by the brightness 
and vehemence of the present impression, as by 
their agreeableness to the standing rule of the 
word of Grod, and their influence towards humility 
and growing holiness. There is, therefore, the 
same rule to judge of the uncommon, as well a« 

spirit's influence. 205 

the Qommon assistances of this Spirit of supplica- 

SL How near soever these rare and extraordinary 
impulses come to the inspiration of the apostles and 
first Christians in the truth and power of them, vet 
they fall far short in the distinct evidence ; for the 
Spirit of God hath not taught us so far to dislin-v 
guish any particular parts or paragraph, even of 
sucli an extraordinary prayer, as that any one can 
say, These are perfect divine inspirations ; hecause 
he would have nothing stand in competition with 
his written word, as the rule of faith and practice 
of his saints. 

IV. Fourth caution. Do not make the gift qf 
prayer the measure of your jiulgment concerning the 
spirU of prayer. If we follow this rule, there are 
three cases where we may be led into mistake. 

The first case is, when ike gift is in great and 
liody txercise. Have a care of believing, that all 
those persons pray by the Spirit, who pronounce 
very pious expressions with great seeming fervency, 
and much volubility of speech ; when, it may be, 
their behavior and character in the world is waful 
and abominable in the sight of God. It is true, 
indeed, the Spirit of God sometimes bestows con- 
siderable gifts upon persons that are unconverted; 
but we are not immediately to believe, that every 
thing that is bright and beautiful is the peculiar 
work of the Spirit in our day, unless we have some 
xeasoQ to hope, the penon is also one of the sons 
of God. 


Much less can we suppose, tliat noisy gesture, a 
distorted countenance, violence, and vociferatioo, 
are any signs of the presence of the Divine Spirit: 
sometimes, indeed, the extraordinary anguish of 
mind, or inward fervor of affection, have extorted 
from the saints of God loud complaints and groan- 
ings. David sometimes practised- this, as appear! 
in his Psalms. Jesus Christ himself, when pressed 
with sorrows heavier than man could bear, of^red 
strong cries and tears in the days of his flesh ; Heb. 
V. 7. and we are sure, the Spirit of prayer was with 
him. But there may be great noise, and violent 
commotions used to make a show of fervency and 
power, and with a design to make up the want of 
inward devotion. Grod himself was indeed present 
at Sinai with thunder and lightning, and the sound 
of a trumpet once. Exodus, xix. But another 
time, when he came down to visit Elijah, he was 
not in the earthquake, nor in the tempest, but in the 
still small voice. 1 Kings, xix. 

I would not impute the diflercfnce betwixt the 
prayers of one minister and another; one Chris- 
tian and another, merely to the presence or absence 
of the Holy Spirit. Natural constitutions, capaci- 
ties, acquirements, natural affections, and providen- 
tial circumstances, can make a great difference.— 
Nor would I impute the difference that is betwixt 
the prayers of the same true Christians, at different 
seasons only, to the unequal assistances of the bles- 
sed Spirit; for many other things may occar to 
make them more or less cold or fervent, dull or 
lireiy, in the exercise of xh^ ^d of prayer. 

spirit's influence. iffi' 

9 second ease^ wherein we mKf be in dan- 
f mistake, is, where there is but a small 
ive of the gift of prayer. How ready are 
persons to judge the Spirit of prayer is absent 
the heart of that person that speaks to God, 
hath but a mean and contemptible gift! If 
$ms to repeat the same things over again ; if 
»orB under want of words, or expresses his 
hts in improper or disagreeable language: if 
th no beauty of connexion betwixt his sen- 
i, and hath little order or method in the seve- 
uts of prayer. Now, though such persons 
lave so very small and despicable a talent 
i nqt be forward to speak in prayer in a great 
ibly, or among strangers, till by practice, in a 
private way, they have attained more of this 
ikill ; yet there may be much of the Spirit of 
r in the hearts of some such persons as these, 
may be, they are young Christians lately con- 
1, and are but begigning'to learn to pray, 
business of praying is a new work to them, 
h their zeal be warm, and their hearts lively 
ice. And natiu*al bashfulness may sometimes 
r the exercise of a good gift of prayer, 
it may be, they have very low natural parts ; 
)r invention, and memory, a barrenness of 
^ or some difficulty, or unhappiness in their 
ton way of expressing themselves about other 
I ; they may be some of those foolish things 
s world, that God hath called to the knowl- 
of his Son, and filled their hearts with rich 
; but grace doth not so far eicalt nature as to 



change a dull genius, and low capacity into a 
■prightliness of thought, and vivacity of language. 

Or, perhaps, they have long disused themselves 
from praying in pubhc ; and at first, when they are 
called to it again, they may be much at a loss, as to 
the gift of prayer, though grace may be in its ad- 
vances in the soul. 

Or, perhaps, they are in the lively exercise of 
deep humility and mourning before God, under a 
sense of guilt, or overwhelmed with -fears of divine 
desertion, or conflicting and wrestling hard with 
some hurrying temptation, or under a present d<d- 
pression of mind, by some heavy sorrow ; and may 
be in the case of David, when he was so troubled 
that he could not speak. Ps. Ixxvii. 4. 

Or, finally, God may withhold from them the ex^ 
ercise of the gift of prayer, to punish them wftb 
shame and confusion, for some neglected duty, and 
chastise them, it may be, for carelessness^ ui seek- 
ing afler this holy skill of speaking to God,, though 
some grace, such as zeal and love, may be at woik 
in the heart 

Sometimes it may happen, that the Spirit of 
prayer is communicated in a great degree to an 
humble Christian, who falls into many thoughtleee 
indecencies • of gesture in prayer, or delivers hit 
sentences with a most unhappy tone of. voice. 
Perhaps he was never taught to practise decency 
when he was young ; and such Ul habits are not 
easily cured afterwards. We are not, therefore, to 
despise, and be offended at all such prayers^ but 
fiindeayor to sepaiate what is pious and divine fit>m 

» spirit's influence.^ 209 

the human frailty and weakness, to pity such per- 
sons heartily, and be so much the more excited 
ourselves to seek after every thing that is agreeal^ 
in the gift of prayer. 

The ifdrd case, wherein we are in danger of 
mistake, is, when the ^fl is not exercised at alL. 
Some persons have been ready to imagine they 
could not pray by the Spirit, but when they exer- 
cised the gift of prayer themselves. But this is a 
great mistake. For though one person be the 
mouth of the rest to Grod, yet every one thatjoins^ 
wkh him may be justly said to pray in Spirit, if all- 
die graces-tbat are suited to the duty of prayer, and 
to the expressions that are then used, are found in 
exercise and hvely vigor. And it is possible that 
a poor humble Christian may pray in the Spirit, 
in the secret and silence of his heart, while the 
person that speaks to God in the name of others, 
hath veiy little or nothing of the Spirit of God with 
hun^ or when the words of the prayer are a known 
and prescribed form. Though the Spirit of prayer, 
in the common language of Christians, is never 
iq^lied to the exercise of the gift, where there is no 
grace ; yet it is often applied to the exercise of &e 
giBoe of prayer, without any regard to the gift 

V. Fifth Caution. Do not expect the same mea^ 
wres tf assistance at aU times from ^ Spirit ofpira^ 
a*. He has nowhere bound himself to be always 
present with his people, in the same degrees of his 
inflttenoe; though he will never utterly forsake 
diose of whose hearts he has taken possession is 



his temple and residence. He is compared to the 
wind, by our Lord Jesus Christ. John iii. The 
wind blows where, and when it listeth, and is not 
always equal in the strength of its gales, nor con- 
stant in blowing on the' same part of the earth. 
The Holy Spirit is a sovereign and free agent, and 
dispenses his favors in what measure he pleasetfa, 
and at what seasons he will. 

Those, therefore, that enjoy at present a large 
share of assistance from the Spirit of prayer, should 
not presume upon it that they shall always enjoy 
the same. Those that have in any measure lost it, 
should not despair of recovering it again ; and those 
that have not yet been blest with his influences^ 
may humbly hope to attain them by seeking. And 
this naturally leads me to the following section. 




The last thing I proposed, is to ^ve some 7>tree- 
iwM how to obtain and to keep the assistance of 
the Holy Spirit ; and they are such as these : 

Direction 1. Seek earnestly ctfter converting Grau 
and Faith in Jesus Christ, — For the Spirit of grace 
and of supplication dwells in believers only. He 
may visit others, as he is the author of some epini- 
ual gifts ; but he abides only with the saints* The 
m)B8 of God are bo may temvlea of his Holy Spuit 


1 Cor. iii. 16. And lie peFfumes their souls witli 
the sweet incense of prayer, ascending up from 
their hearts to God, who dwells in heaven. If we 
are in the flesh, that is, in an unconverted state, we 
cannot please Grod, nor walk in'^the Spirit, nor pray 
in the Spirit. Rom. viii. 9. It is only the children 
of God that receive his Spirit as a Spirit of adop- 
tion. Rom. viii. 15. " Because ye are sons, he hath 
sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts ; and it is 
by faith in Christ Jesus that we receive this Spirit." 
GaL iii. 14. And wheresoever he is the Spirit of 
all grace,' he will, in some measure, be a Spirit of 
prayer too. 

Let all Christians, therefore, that would maintain 
and increase in the gifls of the Holy Spirit, live 
much by the faith of the Son of God, and be fre- 
quent in acts of dependence upon Christ Jesus : 
For the Spirit is given to him without measure, 
and in all fulness; that from his fulness we may 
derive every gift, and every grace. John iii. 34. and 
i. 16. As in the natural, so in the spiritual or mysti- 
cal body^ the spii^its that give life and activity to the 
heart and tongue, and to all the members, are deri- 
ved from the head. He that hves in heaven as our 
Intercessor and Advocate, to present our addresses 
and petitions to the throne, will send his own Spirit 
down to earth, to assist us in drawing them up. 
Live niuch upon him, therefore, as your Intercessor, 
and your vital Head. 

Direction 2. Give aU dU'^ence to acquire this 
gift, or holy skiU, according to the directions concern- 
ing the matter, method, and manner of pratjer.^ >N\iv:.V2L 


have been laid down before ; and be rouch in the 
practice of prayer, both in secret and with one 
another, that young habits may grow, and be im- 
proved by exercise. The Spirit of God will come 
and bless the labors of the mind towards the acqui- 
ring of spiritual gifls. Timothy is commanded to 
give attendance to reading; to meditation on the 
things of God ; and to give himself wholly up to 
the work, that his profiting may appear unto all, 
though he received gifts of inspiration. Jt l^m* 
iv. 3, compared with ver. 14, 15, and 2 Tim. i* 
And much more should we do it, who are not thus 

Though prophecy was a gift of immediate inspi- 
ration, yet there were of old the schools of the 
prophets, or the college, in which young men were 
trained up in the study of divine things, that they 
might be the better prepared to receive the Spirit of 
prophecy, and use and improve it better. And 
these were called the sons of the prophets. 2 Kings, 
vi. 1. 2 Chron. xxxiv. 22. St. Paul labored and 
strove with his natural powers, while the Spirit 
wrought mightily in him. Col. i. 29. 

Do not imagine yourselves to be in danger of 
quenching the Spirit by endeavoring to furnish 
yourselves with matter, or expression of prayer; 
for the Spirit of God usually works in and by the 
use of means. As in the things of nature, so in 
the things of grace, it is a tnie and divine proverb, 
" The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath not ; 
but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat." 
Proy. xlii. 4. We are Xo ^x ivitvk c^us best efforts, 


and then hope for diyine assistance ; feat the ^irit 
of God helps together with us. Rom. tIiL 96. 
As if a man should tak^ hold of one end of a binr- 
den, in order to raise it, and some mighty h^Mr 
should make his labor ef!ectua], by raising it up at 
the other end, and fulfilling the design. It was the 
encouragement which David gave his son Solo- 
. mon, Arise and be doing, andTthe Lord shall be with 
thee. 1 Chnm. xxii. 16. While we are stirring up 
ourselves to obey the command of God, and Seek 
his fiice, we have reason to hope his Spirit will 
strengthen us to this obedience, and asnst us in 
seeking. As when €rod commanded Ezetdel to arise 
and stand upon his feet, and bid him put forth his 
natural powers towards raising himself, the Spirit 
entered into him, and set him on his feet, and, by a 
divine power, made him stand. Ezekiel, iL 1, 2. 

Direction 3. Pray tamesily^ and pray for Ae 
promised Spirit as a Spirit of prayer. — Depend not 
upon all your natural and acquired abilities, what 
l^orious attainments soever you enjoy. How have 
some persons been shamefully disappointed, when 
they' have vt^ntured presumptuously to make their 
addresses to God, by the mere strength of their own 
vnt, and memory, and confidence. What huny 
^and confusion of thought have they fallen into, and 
<foeen incapable to proceed in the duty ! The Holy 
Spirit shall be given to them that ask aright Luke, 
xi. 13. Plead the promises of Christ with faith in 
his name, John, xiv. 16, 17. for he has promised, in 
his own name, and in his Father's, to send his. 
Holy Spirit. 


IHreetian 4. Quench not ike Spirit of prayer by 
cm^ning yourselves to any set forms whatsoever. 
Though the Spirit of God may be present, and 
assist in the exercise of graCe, while we use forms 
of prayer, yet let us have a care how we stifle or 
restrain any holy mo|ions, or good desires, aud 
heavenly affections, that are stirred up in our hearts 
when we pray. If we refuse to express them, 
because we will not vary from the form that is 
written down before us, we run a great risk of 
grieving the Holy Spirit, and causing him to depart 
firom us, as h^ is the Spirit of grace ; and we efletft- 
ually hinder ourselves from his assistance in the 
gift of prayer. 

While you borrow the best aids in your devotion 
from those prayers, that are indited by the Spirit of 
God in scripture, take care and quench not his 
farther operations, by confining yourselves entire- 
ly to those words and expressions. The Holy 
Spirit may be quenched, even by tying yourselves 
to his own words; for, if he had thought those 
words of scripture all-sufficient for all the designs 
and wants of his saints in prayer, he would have 
given some hint of it in his word ; he would have 
required us to use those prayers always : and there 
would have been no farther promise of the Spirit to 
assist us in this work ; but now he has promised it, 
and has forbid us to quench it while we pray with- 
out ceasing. 1 Thess. v. 17, 18, 19.' 

Direction 5. Dare not to indulge yourselves «n a 

ctmrse of spiritual worship in a round of formdliJty 

and lip-service^ imlKout pu)iiA d\8po«ition9<^ and w(am 


devotion in your oum spirUs. There may be danger 
of this formality and coldness, even in the exerciM 
of the gift of prayer, when we are not tied to a 
form. And how can we think the Spirit of Grod 
will come to our assistance, if our spirits withdraw, 
and are absent from the work ? 

Take notice of the frame of your minds in 
prayer; observe the presence or absence of this 
divine assistant, the Holy Spirit ; and since ye are 
bid to pray always in the Spirit, £ph. iy. 18, be 
not satisfied with any one prayer, where ye have 
fimnd nothing at all of inward divine breathing 
towards God through the work of his own Spirit. 
Oh the dismal character and temper of those souls 
that pass whole years of worship, and multiply 
duties and forms of devotion, without end and with- 
out number, and no spirit in them ! 

Direction G. Be thankful for every aid of the Spirit 
tf God in prayer, and improve it weU. Spread all 
the sails of your soul to improve every gale of this 
heavenly wind, that blows when and where it list- 
eth. John, iii. 8. Comply with his holy breathings 
and spiritual motions. Abide in prayer when you 
feel your graces raised into a lively exercise; 
''for it is the Spirit that quickeneth." John, vi. 63. 
He doth not always come in a sensible manner; 
therefore, be tenderly careful lest you shake him off, 
or thrust him from the door of your hearts, especial- 
ly if he be a rare visitor. 

Direction 7. Have a care of pride and adfsitffi- 
tiency, token at any time you fed great enlargements 
of soul in prayer, and warm affections^ and divine 


ddigM. Attribute Dot to youreelvee what is due to 
God^ lest he be provoked. The ^ft of prayer, in a 
lively and flowing exercise, will be in danger of 
puffing up the unwaiy Christian ; but let us re- 
member, that it is with the humble that God wiU 
dwell; Isa. IviL 15, and to the humUe he givetb 
more grace. James, iv. 6. 

Direction 8. Chrieve not the Holy SjpirU in ike 
coutst of your cotwersation in the worUL Walk 
mecording to the Spirit^ and ye shall not JvyU iSke 
huts of theJUsh, nor make him depart grieved. £)9h. 
iv. 99." Hearken to the whispers of the Spirit of 
God when he convinces of sin, and comply with 
his secret dictates when he leads to duty, especially 
the duty of prayer at fit times and seasons. Grieve 
him not by your unwatchfulness, or by wilfld flins; 
resist him not lest he remove; but rather seek great- 
er degrees of his enlightening and sanctifying influ- 
ences. If you thrust him uttierly away from you Ib 
the world, he will not take it well at your hand% 
nor vouchsafe you his presence in the closet, or m 
, the church. If you grieve him before men, he will 
withdraw from you when you would come near W 
Qod, and leave your souls in grief and bitteniflsi^ 
J^eal kindly with him, therefore, whe& he eemea t» 
make a visit of conviction to your conseienees^ and 
to direct and incline you even to diffieiill and aeU^ 
denying duties: val^e his presence as a Spirit «f 
knowledge and sanctificadon, and he will not ftr- 
trice you as a Spirit of prayer. Live ia. the ^SpiEit, 
walk in the SfMrit, and then you shall also pi^y in 
the Spirit. 


Thus have I given short and plain directikms how 
the asristances of the Ho]y Spirit may be obtained, 
according to the encouragements of the word of 
God, and ihe experience of praying Christians ; for 
though he be a sovereign and free agent, and his 
communications are of pure mercy, so that we can 
pretend no merit; yet the Spirit of Grod has so far 
condescended, as to give promises of his own pres- 
ence to those that seek it in the way prescribed. 

I would not finish this section without a word of 
advice to those from whom the Spirit of prayer is 
in a great measure withdrawn, in order^ to their re- 
covering his wonted assistance. 

^vice 1. Be deeply senaiMe of the greatness of 
yovr loss ; mourn over his absencey and lament afUr 
the Lord. Recollect the times when you could pour 
out your whole heart before God in prayer, with a 
rich plenty t)f expressions and lively graces ; com- 
pare those shining hours with the dull and dark 
seasons of retirement which you now complain of. 
Go and mourn before your God, and say, ^How 
vigorous were all the powers of my nature jiereto- 
fore in worship! How warm my love! How fervent 
my zeal ! How overflowing was my repentance ! 
And how joyful my thanksgivings and praises! 
But ^ow, what a coldness hath seized my spirit! 
How dry and dead is my heart, and how far off 
firom God and heaven, even while my knees are 
bowed before him in secret ! How long, O Lord, 
how long ere thou return again ?' Have a care of 
being satisfiedt with a circle and course of duties 
without the life, power and pleasure of tqIL^ou. 


The Spirit of God will come and revisit the moimi-' 
ein. Jer. xxzi. 20. When God heard Ephraim be^ 
moaning himself, he turned his face toward him= 
with compassion. 

Advice S. Look hacky and remtttk (he atep8 v^urt- 
hf tke Spirit of God wiXhdrtw hmsdf; and search 
tfUr t^ 9VM wkich provoked Mm to depart. He is not 
wont to go away and leave his saints, except they 
grieve him. 

See if you cannot find some sensual iniquity in^ 
dulged. He hates this ; for he is a Spirit of purity, 
David might well fear, after this scandalous sin, that 
God would take away his Holy Spirit from him. Ps 
H. 11. ' . 

Recollect, if you have not rushed upon some 
presumptuous sin, and run counter to your own 
light and knowledge: this is a sure way to make 
him withdraw his fevorable presence. 

Ask your conscience, whether you have not resist^ 
ed this blessed Spirit, * when he hath brought a 
word of conviction, or command, or reproof to your 
fK>ul? Whether you have not refhsed to obey 
some holy influence, and been heedless of his kind 
motions in any duty or wonship? This highly 
deserves his resentment and departure. 

Reflect whether you haye not absented yonmlf 
nnfiilly ftom your closet often, or ofteA left it, 
almost as soon as you came to it, from a frondHng 
eamafity of mind, and sinfiil weariness of di^f; 
and often shuffled off the work like a tliusuiiitt tmk^ 
because you fimcied the vrorld cidled you. It is 
no wondet then, if iVie €;^tvx Qit\itvs«riAM«it Idm- . . 
welf from yo«t cWaeX even -s^iYsKa ^^^^sftsi v*^ \ 


you leave to go thither. , And you may expect also, 
that if you dectine secret prayer^ the Spirit will not 
alwajrs attend you in public. 

Consider whether you have not grown proud and 
Tain in gifts and attainments; and thus the Holy 
Spirit hath been provoked to leave you to yourself 
to show you your own weakness and insufficiency, 
and to abase your pride. 

Cry earnestly to him, and beg that he would di»> 
cover his own enemy, which hath given him so 
just offence ; and when you have found it out bring 
h and slay it before the Lord. Confess the sin be- 
fore him with deep humiliation and self-abasement ; 
abhor, renounce and abandon it for ever. Bring it 
to the cross of Christ for pardon, and there let it be 
crucified and put to death. Cry daily for strength 
against it from heaven ; renew your engagements 
to be the Lord's, and to walk more watchfUUy be- 
fore him. 

Jidnee 3. Remember how you oUained iht Spirit 
of prayer at first Read wer all the foregoing dxrt^ 
tmnsj and put Ihem all ajreah in practice, 

W«9it by faith in'Chiist Jesus, that the Spirit 
WBB first received? Then by renewing acts of 
ftith in Christ, seek his return ; it is he who first 
ghres, and he who restores this prions gift. 

Was it in the way of labor, duty, and difigence, 
tbit yoa found the SpiritVi first assistance ? then stif 
<iq» dtt the powers of yoor soul to the same dil»- 
giisee m duty : and strive and labor to get near to 
tiie thione of God, with the otmost B3iereiss of your 
natural alnlities^ dependiiig an basawKXTofiDiismMiK 


and hofnog for*hifl return. If the wind blow not, 
labor harder at the oar, and so make your way 
toward heaven. Dare not indulge a neglect of 
prayer, upon pretence that the Spirit is departed ; 
for you cannot expect he should revisit you, with- 
out sdjring up your soul to seek him. 

-Was he given you more sensibly as an answer to 
prayer at first? then plead earnestly with Grod again 
to restore him. If he furnish you not with matter 
of prayer by his special and present influences, take 
with you words from his own holy book, and say 
to him, take away all iniquity, and return and re- 
ceive me graciously. Hos. xiv. 1, 4. Plead witb 
him his own promises made to returning backrii- 
ders ; Jer. iii. ^ Elzek. xxxvi. 25. 31. 37, and put 
him in mind of the repenting prodigal in the embra- 
ces of his father. 

When you have found him, hold him fast, and 
never let him go. Sol. Song, iii. 4. Dare not again 
indulge those follies that provoked his anger and 
absence. Entertain his first appearances with great 
thankfulness and holy joy ; let him abide with yon, 
and maintain all his sovereignty within you, and see 
that you abide in him in all subjection. Walk 
humbly and sin no more, lest a woi:se thing beM 
you ; lest he depart again fiom you, and fiU your 
Spirit with fear and bondage, and make yon to poa- 
Bess the bitter firuit of your foUy ; lest he give yo« 
-up to mon^s and years of darkness, and tibat mea- 
flure of the gift of prayer you had attained ahovM 
he 80 strangely imprisoned and bound up» tbal 
jou amj be baidkjf i^\d \o vw!i ^ ^ 




? is to little purpose that the nature of prayer is 
[plained, that so many rules are framed, and 
rections given to teach persons this divine skill of 
•ayer, ifthey are not persuaded of the necessity 
id usefulness of it. I would therefore finish these 
structions, by leaving some persuasive arguments 
I the minds of the readers, that this attainment is 
orth their seeking. 

I am not going to address nnrjrself to those 
ersons who, through a neglect of serious reli^on, 
ave risen to the insolence of scoffing at all prey- 
's, besides public divine services and authorized 
itma ; nor am I now seeking to persuade those who 
lay have some taste of serious piety, but, by a 
ipei^titious and obstinate veneration of liturgies, 
ive forever abandoned all thoughts of learning to 

I think there is enough in the second chapter 
'this Treatise, to convince impartial men, that the ' 
ift of prayer is no enthusiastical pretence, no insig- 
ificant cant of a particular party; but a useful 
id necessary qualification for all men ; a piece of 
hristian skill to hb attained in a rational way, by 
le use of proper means and the bVeiesok^ ^^ ^^(^ 


Holy Spirit If what I have said cannot have influ- 
ence on these peraona, I leave them to the fiurther 
instruction and reproof of a great and venerable 
man, whose name I have mentioned before, a 
learned prelate of the estkblished church, who 
speaks thus : 

' For any one to satisfy himself with a form of 
prayer, is still to remain in infancy. It is the duty 
of every Christian to grow and increase in all the 
duties of Christianity, gifls, as well as graces.' 
Now, how can a man be said to live suitable to 
these rules, who doth not put forth himself in some 
attenq>ts and endeavors of this kind ? And if it be 
a &ult not to strive and labor after this gift, much 
more it is to jeer and despise it by the name oi 
extempore prayer, and praying by the Spirit ; which 
expressions, (as they are frequently used by some 
men, by way of reproach,) are, for the most part, a 
sign of a profane heart, and such as are altogether 
strangers from the power and comfort of this duty. 

My business here is to apply myself to those who 
have some sense of their obligation to prayer, and 
of the impossibiUty of answering all their necessi^ 
ties, by any set forms whatever; but, through a 
coldness and indifference in things of religion, take 
no pains to acquire the gift, or content themselves 
with so slight and imperfect a degree of it, that 
themselves or others, are not much the better. It 
' is this sort of Christians that I would stir up and 
awaken to diligence, in seeking so valuable an 

TO LKiJtll TO PJLAT. 388 

Butliere I would have it again ohMrvedt that the 
qualification I recommend, doUi not eooaiat in a 
treasure of MiUime notioma, florid phnBe% and gajr 
eloquence; but merely in a competent i^pply of 
rdigiout thoughts, which are the fit materials of 
prayer, and a readiness to express (hem in plain and 
proper words, with a free and natural decei^cj. 

1. The firti argument^ or persuasive, I shall 
draw from the design and digni^ of this gift, 

There is such a thing as a correspondency with 
heaven ; and prayer is a great part of it, while we 
dwell on earth. Who would not be ambiti^tus to 
correspond with heaven ? — ^Who would not be wil- 
ling to learn to pray ? — This is the language viiiere- 
in God hath appointed the sons of Adam, whq are 
but worms and dust, to address the King of G)oiy, 
their Maker ; and shall there be any among the tons 
oC Adam that will not learn this language? S|iall 
worms and dust refuse this honor and privilege? 
This is the speech which the sons of God use in 
talking with their heavenly Father ; and shall not 
all the children know how to speak it ? This is the 
manner and behavior of a saint, and these the ex-i 
pressions of his lips, while his soul is breathing in 
a divine air, and stands before God. Why should 
not every man be acquainted with this manner of 
address, that he may join in practice with all the 
saints, and have access, at all times, to the greatest 
and best of Beings ! 

There are, indeed, some sincere Christians who 
daily worship God, and yet they are often laboring 
for want of matter, and are perpetually at aloaa 


for proper expressions. They have but a mean 
attainment of this holy skill ; but it is neither their 
honor nor their interest to perform' so divine a 
work with so many human weaknesses, and yet be 
satisfied with them. There are children that can 
but just cry after their Father, and stammer out a 
broken word or two, by which he can undentandl 
their meaning ; but mese are infants and ingrown. 

The Father had rather see his children advan- 
cing to manhood, and entertaining themseh'es daily 
with that large and free converse with himself 
which he allows, and to which he gracioudly invites 

Prayer is a secret and an appointed mean to 
obtain all the blessings that we want, whether they' 
relate to this life, or the life to come ; and shaU we 
not know how to use the means God hath appoint- 
ed for our own happiness ? Shall so ^orious a 
privilege lie unimproved through our neglect ? 

Were the business of prayer nothing else but- to 
come and beg mercy of God, it would be the duty 
of every man to know how to draw up such peti- 
tions, and present them in such a way as becomes 
a mortal petitioner. But prayer is a work of much 
larger extent When a holy soul comes before 
God, be hath much more to say than merely to beg. 
He tells his God what a sense he hath of the divine 
attributes, and what high esteem he pa^s to hb 
majesty, his wisdom, his power, and his mercy. 
He talks with him about the works of creation, and 
■tands wrapt up in wonder. He talks about the 
gnc% and mystery o£ i^^^mv^^m^vsA^'^moFa 


fiUed with admiration and joy. He talks of all the 
flffidrs of nature, grace, and glory; he speaks of 
his works of providence, of love, and vengeance,i 
in this and the future world. Infinite and glo- 
rious are the subjects of this holy communion 
between God and his saints: and shall we con- 
tent ourselves with sighs and groans, and a few 
short wishes, and deprive our souls of so rich, so 
divine, so various a pleasure, for want of knowing 
how to furnish out such meditations, and to speak 
this blessed language ! 

How excellent and valuable is this skill of pray' 
ing, in comparison of the many meaner arts and 
accomplishments of human nature, that we labor 
night and day to obtain I What toil do men under- 
go for seven years together, to acquire the knowl- 
edge of a trade and business in this present life 1 
Now the greatest part of the busiiless between us 
and heaven is transacted in the way of prayer. 
With how much more diligence should we seek the 
knowledge of this heavenly commerce, than any 
thing that concerns us merely on earth! How 
many years of our short life are spent to learn the 
Greek, the Latin, and the French tongues, that we 
may hold correspondence abroad among the living 
nations, or converse with the writings of the dead ! 
And shall not the language wherein we converse 
with heaven, and the living God, be thought worthy 
equal painis ! How nicely do some persons study 
that art of conversation, that they may be accepted 
in all company, and share in the favor of men ! Is 
not the same care due to seek «U. vk&\S2A4& ^t 


acceptance with God, that we may dfipnave ouiw 
■elves in his presence ? What a high yaliie is set 
upon human oratory, or the art of penRianoOy 
whereby we are fitted to discourse, and prevail 
with our fellow-creatures ! And is this art of divine 
oratory of no esteem with us, which teaches us to 
utter our inward breathings of the soul, and plead 
and prevail with our Creator, through the assistancs 
of the Holy Spirit, and mediation of our Lord 

O let the exceUency and high value of this gift of 
prayer, engage our earnestness and endeavom in 
proportion to its superior dignity. Let us covet the 
best of gifts 'With the warmest desire, and pray for 
it with ardent supplications. 1 Cor. xii. 31. 

2. Another argument may be borrowed from our 
very character and profession as Christians ; some 
measure of the gift of prayer is of great necessity 
and universal use to all that are called by the name. 

Shall we profess to be followers of Christ, and 
not know how to speak to the Father? — ^Are w« 
commanded to pray always, and upon all occasioos 
to be constant and fervent in it ; and shall we be 
contented with ignorance and incapacity to obey 
this command ? Are we invited by the warmest 
exhortations, and encouraged by the highest hopes, 
to draw near to God, with all our wants and our 
sorrows; and shall we not learn to express those 
wants, and pour out those sorrows before the Lord? 
Is there a way made for oiur Access to the throne, 
by the blood and intercession of Jesus Christ ; and 
«haii we not know boYr v> fotuv 6^ i^rayer to be sent 


to heaven, and qMPead before the. throne, by this 
glorious intercession ! Is his Holy Spirit promised 
to teach us to pray ; and shall a Christian be care- 
loAi or unwilling to receive such divine teachings ? 

There is not any -fiiculty in the whole Christian 
. ife that IS called out into so frequent exercise as 
this; and it is a most unhappy thing to be always at 
a loss to perform the work which daily necessity 
requires, and daily duty demands. Will a person 
profess to be a scholar that cannot read ? Shall any 
'man pretend to be a minister that cannot preach? 
And it is but a poor pretence we make to Christian- 
i^, if we are not able, at least in secret, to supply 
ourselves with a few meditations, or expressions, to 
continue a little in this work of prayer. 

Remember, then, O Christian,'this is not a gift 
that belongs to ministers alone, nor alone to govern- 
ors of families, who are under constant obligation 
to pray in public, though it most highly concerns 
them to be expert in this holy skill, that with cour- 
age and prefjence of mind, with honor and decency, 
they may diwharge this part of their duty to God 
in their congregations and households. But this 
duty hath a farther extent — Every man that is 
joined to a church of Christ should seek after an 
abihty to help the church with his prayers ; or, at 
least, upon more private occasions, to join with a 
few- feUow-christians in seeking to God their Fsk 
then Nor are women, though they are forbidden 
to speak in the church, forbid to, pray in their own 
fiinijlies,nor with one another in a private chamber 
and I am persuaded, that Christians would ask one 

S28 A PERsuAsin: 

anothei's assistance more fireqiiently in prayer upos 
qpecial occarions, if a good gift of prayor were 
niofe commonly soaght, and more universally ob* 
tuned. Nor woold cong^gations in the cpuntiy 
be dismissed, and the whole' Lord's day pass with- 
out public worehip, where a minister is suddenly 
taken mck, if some grave and discreet Christian, of 
good ability in prayer, would but take that part of 
worship upon him, together with the reading (f 
aome well composed sermon, and some useful por 
tion of Holy Scriptiure. Doubdess this would be 
most acceptable to that God who loves the gates of 
Zion, or his ovm public ordinances, more than all 
the dwellings of Jacob, or worship of private fkim- 
lies. Ps. Lxxxvii. 2. 

Thus far is this gift necessary, wheresoever social 
prayer may be performed. But the necesaty of it 
reaches farther still. There is not a man, woman 
or child,, that is capable of seeking God, but is 
bound to exercise something of the gift of prayer. 
And those that never have any call from Provi- 
dence, to be the mouth of others in speaking to 
God, are called daily to speak to God themselves. 
It is necessary, therefore, that every soul should be 
80 far furnished with a knowledge of the perfections 
of God, as to be able to adore them distinctlv • 
should have such an acquaintance with its own 
wants, as to express them particularly before Grod, 
at least in the conceptions and language of the 
mind; should have such an apprehension of the 
encouragement to pray, as to be able to plead with 
Crodfor supply*) and a\io\sVd.\vvi^^Kxc\v^fSL^baerva- 


taon and remembrance of di?ine mercies, as to 
repciat some of them before God, with humUe 

3, I would pursue this persuaave by a third ar^ 
gtimeti^, drawn from the divine delight, and exceed- 
ing great advantage of this gift to our own souls, 
and to the souls of all that join in prayer with us. 

Christians, have you never felt your spirits 
raised, from a carnal and vain temper of miud, to a 
devout fitune, by a lively feiTcncy of prayer? — 
Have you not found your whole souls overspread 
with holy affections, and carried up to heaven with 
most abundant pleasure, by the pious and regular 
performance of him that speaks to God in worship? 
And when ye have been cold and indifferent to 
divine things, have ye not felt that heavy and listless 
humor expelled, by joining with the warm and 
lively expressions of a person skilful in his duty? 
How *sweet a refreshment have ye found under 
inward burdens of mind, or outward afflictions, 
when in broken language you have told them to 
your minister, and he hath spread them before Crodj 
' and that in such words as have spoken your whole 
soul and your sorrows ! And you have experienced 
a sweet serenity and calmness of spirit ; you have 
risen up from your knees with your countenance 
no more sad. And have you not wished for the 
same gif^ yourselves, that you might be able, upon 
all occasions, thus to address the throne of grace, 
and pour out all yonr hearts, in this manner, before 
your gA ? Bnt what a sad inconvenience . is it to 
lire in such a world as this, wh^re we ara Ualdd 


daily to so many new troubles and temptations, and 
not be able to express them to God in prayer, unlM 
we find them written in the words of a form ; and 
how hard it is to find any form suited to all our 
new wants and new sorrows ! 

At other times, what divine impresmons of hofi* 
ness have ye felt in public worship in the congie- 
gation where this duty hath been performed with 
holy skill and fervency! and in tliat prayer yon 
have received more solid edification than from the 
whole sermon. How dead have you been to afl 
sinful temptations, and how much devoted to God. 
And do ye not long to be able to pray thus in your 
households, and in your own closets ? Would it 
not be a pleasure for men to be thus able to enter- 
tain their whole families daily ; and for Christians 
thus to entertain one another, when they meet lo 
pray to their common God and Father, and to help 
one another at this rate, onward to the world of 
pruse ! When the disciples had just been witnesses 
of the devotion of our Lord, Luke, xi. 1, who 
spake as never man spake, their hearts grew warm 
under the words of that blessed worshipper; and 
one of them, in the name of the rest, cried out. 
Lord, teach us to pray too. 

Thus, a good attainment of this gift is made a 
happy instrument of sanctification as well as eom- 
ftrt, by the co- working power of the blessed Spirit 

But on the other hand, hath not your paiiiftil 
experience somefhnee taught you, that and and 
devotion have been cooled, and ahnost ^enehed 
tj the vmn lepcdaAoius ^ '^■ra^ «cA ^vnnderiiif 


Oioaghti of some feDow-christiaD, that leads ^e 
woirriiip ? And at another time, a well-fiamed 
inayer, of beautiful order and language, hath been 
tendered disagreeable, by some unhappy tones and 
gestures ; so that you have been ready to long for 
die concluaon, and hare been weary of attend- 

Who then would willingly remain ignorant of 
saeh an attainment, which is so sweet and success- 
ftd an instrument to advance religion, inthepow* 
ere and pleasures of it in their own hearts, and the 
liearts of all men that are around about them ! 

4. The honor of Chdj and the credit qf religion^ 
m ike woHdy will afford me another spring of argu- , 
ments, to excite you to attain this skill of prayer. 

The great God esteems himself dishonored, when 
we do not pay him the best worship we are capable 
o£ The work of the Lord must not be done negK^ 
gently. It is highly for his honor that we be fiu> 
nished with the best talents for his service, and that 
we employ them in the best manner. This discoy- 
en to the world, the inward hi^ esteem and ven- 
eration we have for our Maker. This gives him> 
l^ory in the eyes of men. But to neglect utteriy 
this gifl of prayer, and to serve him daily with only 
a few sudden thou^^tts, with nide and improper ear 
piesrions that never cost us any thing but the labor 
of our lips while we speak; thi» is sot the way to 
■anctify his name among men. 

There isa sinfiddotb and indifibfenee &i ryigkn, 
tfaac hath tenq;rted some men to befieve tiiol God is 
BO curious and exact inquiier into ootwud^isBUL. . 


And if they can but persuade themselves their in* 
tentions are right, they imagine that for the sub- 
stance and form of their sacrifice any thing will 
serve. And, as though he were not a God of o^ 
der, they address him often in confusion. Because 
the heart is the chief thing in divine VForship, (like 
some foolish Israelites,) they are regardless what 
beast they offer him, so it hath but a heart. But the 
prophet Malachi thunders with divine indignation 
and jealousy against such worshippers. ^ Ye have 
brought that which was torn and lame, and the 
sick : Should I accept this at your hand ? I am a 
great King, saith the Lord of Hosts, and my name 
' is dreadful." Mai. i. 13, 14. He- upbraids us with 
sharp resentment, and bids us offer it to our Gov- 
ernor, and asks if he will be pleased with it. Now, 
our consciences sufficiently informs ug, how careful 
we are when we moke an address to an earthly 
Governor, to have our thoughts well ordered, and 
words well chosen, as well as to tender it with a 
loyal heart. And may not our supreme Governor in 
heaven expect a due care in ordering our thoughts, 
and choosing our words, so far, at least, as to 
answer all the designs of prayer ; and so far as is 
consistent with the necessity of so frequent address- 
es to him and our other Christian duties ! 

The crediU qf religion in the world is much con- 
oemed in the honorable discharge of the duty of 

There is aa inward beauty in divine worship that 

consists in the devout temper of the worshippers, 

.And the lively exercise of holy affections; but of 

to LEARN TO P&AT. $33 

iki God only is witness, who sees the heart 
here is also an outward heauty that arises from a 
Msentand acceptable performance ofaUthepaits 
' it that come within the notice of oui" fellow 
■eatares ; that those who obsenre us may be fbrced 
• acknowledge die excellence ,of religion in our 
ractice of it. 

Where worship is performed by immediate in- 
liration, a natural order of things, and a becoming 
^havior are required in him especially who leads 
te worship. This is the design of the apostle in 
is advice to the Corinthians : " Let all things be 
jne decently and in order;" 1 Cor. xiv. 40. i. e. 
et such a prudent conduct, such a regular and 
itional management, in all the parts of worship be 
»und among you, as gives a natural beauty to 
iiman actions, and will give a visible glory to the 
;ts of religion. Where this advice is followed, if 
le unlearned and unbeliever, (i% e. ignorant and 
rqfane,) come into the assembly, they will fall 
own and worship God, and report, God is in you 
f a truth, ver. 25. But if you are guilty of disor- 
er of speaking, and break the rules of natural light 
rid reason in uttering your inspirations, the un- 
named and unbelievers will say, you are mad, 
lough your words may be the dictates of the Holy 

Much more is this applicable to our oommon 
nd ordinary performanee of worship. When an 
mAHful person speaks in prayer with a heavinesB 
nd penury of thought^ with mean and improper 

u ■ ' 


language, with a false and offensive tone of voioe, 
or accompanies his words with awkward ni6tioiM» 
what slanders are thrown upon our practice! A 
whole party of Christians is ridiculed, and the 
scoffer saith we are mad. But when a minister, or 
master of a family, with a fluency of devout senti- / 
ments and language, offers his petitions and praisei L 
to God, in the name of all that are present, and 
observes all the rules of natural decency in his voiet 
and gesture ; how much credit is done to our 
profession hereby, even in the opini(Mi oi thxm 
who have no kindness for our way of wondup. 
And how effectuaUy doth such a performance 
confute the pretended necessity of imposing forms. 
How gloriously doth it triumph over the slanders 
of the adversary, and force a conviction upon the 
mind, that there is something divine and heavenly 
among us ! 

I cannot represent this in a better manner than i0 
done by an ingenious author of the last age; who, 
being a courtier in the reigns of the two brothen, 
Charles and James II. can never lie under the sus- 
picion of being a dissenter; and diat is the late Mar- 
quis of Hali&x. This noble writer, in a Utde book, 
under a borrowed character, gives his own senti- 
ments of thmgs. He tells us, that ''he is fiir from rel- 
ishing the impertinent wanderings of those wiio 
pour out long prayers upon the congregatioD, and all 
'fiom their own stock; a barren soil, which produces 
•weeds instead of flowen; and by this mean they 
■ expose religion itself rather than promote men's 
devotions. On the othent ^<3a> ^<&te may be too 


great restraint pot upon men, whom God and na- 
ture hare distinguiflhed from their feUow-lahorerSy 
by UesBing them with a happier talent, and by 
giYingthem not only good sense, but a powerfiil 
utterance too, has enabled them to gush out upon 
the attentive auditory, with a mighty stream of 
derout and unaffected eloquence. When a man 
so qualified, endued with learning too, and, above 
all, adorned with a good life, breaks out into a 
warm and well dehvered prayer before his sermons 
it has the appearance of a divine rapture; he 
raises and leads the hearts of the assembly in 
another manner than the most composed, or best 
studied form of set words can do. And the pray 
we's, who serve up all their sermons with the same 
garnishing, would look like so many statues, or men 
of straw, in the pulpit, compared with those that 
Bpeak with such a powerful zeal, that men are 
tempted at the moment, to believe Heaven itself 
has dictated their words to them.*' 

5. A J^ perstumve to seek the gift of prayer, 
shall be drawn from the easiness of attaining it, 
with the common assistance of the Holy Spirits 
Easy, I can it, in comparison of the long toil and 
difficulty that men go through, in order to acquire a 
common knowledge in arts, sciences, or trades in 
this world ; though it is not to be expected without 
some pains and diligence. 

^me young persons may be so foolish and un- 
happy, as to make two or three bold attempts to 
pray in company, before they have well learned to 
pray in secret; and finding theinsiQ\v^^ txiwkXv ^ ^ 


loss, and bewildered in their thoughts, or confound- 
ed for want of presence of mind, they have aban- 
doned all hopes, and contented themsdivee with 
saying it is impossible. And as they have tempted 
God, by rashly venturing upon such an act of 
worship, without any due care and preparation ; so 
. they have afterward thrown the blame of their own 
sloth upon God himself, and cried. It is a mere gift 
of Heaven ; but God hath not bestowed it upon 
me. This is, as if a youth, who had just begun to 
read logic, should attempt immediately to dilute 
in a public school, and, finding himself baffled and 
confounded, should cast away bis book, renounce 
his studies, and' say, I shall never learn it, it is 
impossible: whereas, when we seek any attainment, 
we must begin both regularly and gradually toward 
perfection, with patience and labor. Let but the 
rules recommended in the second chapter of this 
Treatise, for acquiring the gift of prayer, be duly 
followed, and I doubt not but a Christian of ordina- 
ry capacity, may, in time, gain so much of this 
skill, as to answer the demands of his duty and his 

Rather than 1^'would be utterly destitute of this 
gift of prayer, I would make such an experiment as 
this : Once a month I would draw up a new prayer 
for myself in writing, for morning and evening, and 
for the Lord's day, according to all parts of this 
duty described in the first chapter of this book, or 
out of the scriptures that Mr. Henry hath collected 
in his Method of Prayer, (which book I would 
lecommend to aiii CYitia(^Tif&*^\Yi^^^\»i^\tcQn- 


ftandy all that month ; yet never confining myself 
ill along to those yeiy same words, but giving 
nyflelf a liberty to put in, or leave out, or enlarge, 
iccording to the present woikings of my heart, or 
Mscurrences^of providence. Thus, by degrees, I 
irould write less and less, at last setting down little 
nore than heads or hints of thought, or expression ; 
just as ministers learn by degrees to leave off their 
iermon-notes in preaching. I would try whether a 
fear or two of this practice would not furnish me 
with an ability, in some measure, to pray without 
this help; alwAys making it one of my petitions, 
ihat God would pour more of his Spirit upon me, 
md teach me the skill of praying. And by such 
ihort abstracts, and general heads of prayer, well 
Irawn up for children, according to their years and 
cnowledge, they may be taught to pray by degrees, 
md begin before they are six years old. 

Objectioru If any Christian that loves his ease 
ihould abuse this proposal, and say, " If I may use 
lus prayer of my own framing for a month togeth- 
er, why may I not use it all my life ; and so give 
nyself no farther trouble about learning to pray .P" 

Answer 1. I would Jirst desire such a man to 
^ead over again the great inconveniences mentioned 
in the second chapter, that arise from a perpetual 
186 of forms, and the danger of confinement to 

Answer 2. 1 would say in the second place, the 
ntftter of prayer is almost infinite; it extends to 
iveiy thing we can have to transact with our 
If aker ; and it is impossible, in n few ^^gsa^ \a 

288 A PEBSUAsirs 

mentkMi paitteulariy, one tenth part of the iufajeet» 
of our converBe with God. But m drawing up new 
prayers every month, in time, we may nm through 
a great part j>f those subjects, and grow, by degreefl^ 
to be habitually furnished for convera^ with him 
on all occalions whatsoever ; which can never be 
done by dwelling always upon one form or two. 
As children that learn to read at school, daily take 
out new lessons, that they may be able, at last, to 
read every thing; which they vrould not vrell 
attain, if they always dwelt on the same lesson. 

Answer 3. Besides, there is a blessed variety of 
expressions in scripture, to represent our virantB^ 
svYrows, and dangers ; the gloiy, power, and grace 
of God, his promises and covenant, our hopes and 
discouragements; and sometimes one expression) 
sometimes another, may best suit our present tun 
of thought, and temper of our minds. It is good, 
therefore, to have as large a furniture of this kind 
as possible, that we might never be at a loss to 
express the inward sentiments of our soul, and 
clothe our desires and wishes, in such words as are 
most exactly fitted to them. 

Anstoer 4 Though God is not the more affected 
with variety of words and arguments in prayer, 
(for he acts upon other principles borrowed from 
himself,) yet our natures are more affected with 
such a variety. Our graces are drawn into more 
vigorous exercise, and, by our importunity in plead- 
ing vnth Grod, with many arguments, we put our- 
selves more directly under the promise that is made 


to iin)K>rtunate petitioDera; and we become fitter 
to leceive the mercies we seek. 

Yet in die last place, 1 would anstpery by way of 
confesaon. If we have the scheme and substance 
of sereral prayers ready composed, and well suited 
to all. tb^ most usual cases and concerns of life 
and rd^ljipnf and if one or other, of these be daily 
lUNBid Wim seriousness, interposing new expressions 
wherever the soul is drawn out to further the 
breathings after Grod, or where it finds occasion for 
new matter from some present providence ; this is 
much rather to be approved than a neglect of all 
prayer, or a dwelling upon a single form or two ; 
and it will be more edifying to those who join with 
us, than a perpetual confusion of thought, and end- 
less dishonorable attempts in the mere extemporary 

But I speak this by way of indulgence to persons 
of weaker gifls, or when the natural spirits are low, 
or the mind much indisposed for duty; and in 
these cases the way of addressing God which is 
called mixed prayer, will be so &r firom confining 
the pious soul to a dead form of worship, that it 
will sometimes prove a sweet enlargement and 
release to the spirit, under its own darkness and 
confinement It will furnish it with spiritual mat- 
ter, and awaken it* to a longer and more Hvely 
converse with Qod in its own language ; and, if I 
may use a plain comparison, it will be like pouring 
a httle water into a pump, whereby a much greater 
quantity will be raised from the spring when it lies 
low in the earth. 



OlyeeUon, If any Christian^ on the other hand, 
should forbid all use of such compositions, as sup- 
posing them utterly unlawful, and quenching the 
Spirit ; 

* Ans, I would humbly reply, there is no danger 
of that, while we do not rest in them, as our de- 
agned end, but use them only as means to help us 
to pray, and never once confine ourselves jto them 
without the liberty of alteration. 

It is the saying of a great divine ; ^ Though set 
forfns Inade by others be as a crutch, or help of our 
insufficiency, yet those which we compose our- 
selves, are fruits of our .sufficiency : and that while 
a maA ought not to be so confined by any premedi- 
tated form, as to neglect any special ihfiii^on, he 
ought so to prepare himself, as if he expected no 
assistance : and he should so depend upon divine 
assistance, as if he had made no preparation." 

Here, if I might obtain leave of ray Others in 
the ministry, I would'say this to younger students, 
that if in their private years of study they pursued 
such a course, once a week, as I have here de- 
scribed, I am persuaded their gifls would be richly 
improved ; their ministerial labors would be iiniver- 
saUy acceptable to the world; their talents Would 
be attractive of multitudes to their place of wordiip; 
the hearers would be raised in their spirits, while 
the preachef prays with a regulars and divine ek^ 
quence: and they would receive those sennont 
with double influence and succeas, which are al> 
tended vrith such prayers. 

TO LfiABN TO P&AT. 941 

6. The last attempt I shall make to eonyince 
Christians of the necessity of seeking this gil^ shall 
be merely by representing the iU consequences of 
the neglect of it If you take no pains to learn to 
pray, you will unavoidably fall into one of these 
three evils. 

Either,^^, you will drag on heavily in the work 
of prayer all your days, even in your closets as well 
as your family, and be liable to so many imperfec- 
tions in the performance, as will rob your own soul 
of a great part of the benefit and the delight of this 
sweet duty, and give neither pleasure nor profit to 
them that hear you. The ignorant part of your 
household will sleep under you, while the more 
knowing are in pain for you.. And, perhaps, you 
will sometimes think to make amends for the dul- 
ness of the devotion, by increasing the length of it ; 
but this is to add one error to another, and lay raort 
burdens upon them that are weaiy. 

Or, secondly, if you find that you cannot cany on 
the constancy of thi» duty with tolerable satisfaction, 
you will give yourself up to a morning and evening 
form, and rest in them /rom year to year. Now 
though it may be possible for some persons to use 
a form without deadness^ and formality of spirit f 
yet such as, from a mere principle of sloth, negleet 
to learn to pray, are most Ukely to fall into formalitj^ 
and slothfulness in the use of forms ; and the powev 
of rehgion will be lost. 

Or, in the last plaee, if you have been bred up 
with an universal hatred to all forms of prayer, and 


yet know not how to pray without thena, you will 
grow first inconstant in the discharge of this duty* 
every little hindrance wiU put you by ; and at last' 
perhaps, you will leave it off entirely ; and yoor 
house and your closet too, in time, will be without 

Christians, which of these three evils will ye 
choose ? Can you be satisfied to drudge on to your 
life's end among improprieties and indecencies, and 
thus expose prayer to contempt? Or will your 
minds be easy to be confined forever, to a form or 
two of slothful devotion ? Or shall prayer be 
banished out of your houses, and all appearance of 
religion be lost among you ? 

Parents, which of these evils do ye choose for 
your children? You charge them to pray; daily 
you tell them the sin and danger of dwelling all 
u\)on prayer books, and yet you scarce ever give 
them any regular instructions how to perform this 
duty. How can ye aspect they should maintain 
religion honorably in their families, and avoid the 
tilings you forbid? But whatsoever ill consequences 
attend them hereafter, consider what i^are of ths 
guilt will Me at the door of those who never todL 
any pains to show them to pray ! 

While I am persuading Christians with so much 
flttnestness to seek the gift of prayer, surely nont 
will be so weak as to imagine the grace and Spirit 
of prayer may be neglected. Without some de- 
grees of common influence fiiom the blessed Spirit, 
the gift is not to be attained: and without the 
ezeicise of grace m \!bia dnxj^xhA i^toyer will never 


reach heaven, nor prevail with God. He is not^ 
taken with the brightest forms of worship, if the 
heart be not there. Be the thoughts ever so divine 
the expressions ever so sprightly, and deUvered with 
all the sweet and mo\nng accents of speech, it is all 
in his esteem but a fair carcase without a soul. I^ 
is a mere picture of prayer, a dead picture, which 
cannot charm ; a lifeless offering, which the living 
Grod' will never accept ; nor will our great High 
Priest ever present it to the Father. 

But these things do not fall directly under my 
present design. I would therefore recommend my 
readers to those treatises, that enforce the necessity 
of spiritual worship, and describe the gloiy of in- 
ward devotion above the best outward performances* 
Then shall they learn the perfection of beauty in 
this part of worship, when the gift and grace of 
prayer are happily joined, in the secret pleasure and 
success of it, ^d appear before men in its full love- 
liness and attractive power. Then shall religion 
look like itself, divine and heavenly, and shine in 
all the lustre it is capable of here upon eartlu . 

PART 1 1 r. 


All instructions and forms, in aid of devotion, vn 
to be viewed, as has been previously suggested, as 
hints for improvement, and not as specific examples 
to copy and adopt in practice. The object to be 
attained, is to lead every pious mind ta express 
itself with freedom and ease without forms. ** The 
purest prayer is above form and method. It is the 
expression of a full heart, pouring out the inmost 
desires of the soul before God, in the most natural 
and obvious words." But as a person^ who has 
become familiarly acquainted with the principles of 
a language, will generally express himself correctly 
without thinking of the rules ; so a Christian, who 
ha» acquired enlarged and correct information, and 
attained a holy skill in the gift of prayer, will ex- 
hibit a general regard to method, propriety, and 
edification, without particularly adverting to rules, 
or feeling himself limited to forms. 

In private and family prayer, especially, an awa- 
kened interest is excited by individual and local 
circumstancei^ which the changing scenes of evetj 
day present, and which each occasion, therefore, 
demands to be particularly noticed. 

Mr. Henry, in h\& Method of Prayer, has arranged 
jBiunerous pasaagen o£ wifBfi>VMfe m\A^\ 


heads, in correspondence with the different parts 
of prayer, a perusal of which is well calculated to 
lead the pious worshipper to adopt scripture lan- 
guage in his addresses to God, which always gives 
sacredness and delight to the service. A selection 
of these passages is here presented, which may both 
assist in illustrating the several parts or divisions of 
prayer, and in acquiring a copiousness of expres- 
sion. Several forms of prayer are also added "from 
Bickersteth's treatise, an inspection of which may 
lead to more definite ideas of the nature and 
method of prayer, and aid Christians in profitably 
discharging the duty, and enjoying the privilege. 

May every reader be inclined, and by the Spirit 
of Grod enabled, to enter on a full and enlarged 
practice of prayer. A continual spirit of devotion 
is the' highest attainment of man; it is the root 
which draws up the sap and life of the tree of 
righteousness, and thus causes it to bring forth all 
that firuit Which glorifies God and benefits man. 



Holt, holy, holy. Lord God Almighty, which was, 
and is, and is to come. Rev. iv. 8. 

Thou whose name alone is Jehovah, art the Most 
High over all the earth. Ps. Ixxxiii. 18. 



O God, thou art my God, early will I seek thee. 
Pa. buii. 1. 

He is my God, and I will prepare him an habita- 
tion ; ray father^s God, and 1 will exalt him. Ex. 
XY. 5. 

The Lord is the true God, he is the living God, 
and an everlasting 'King. Jer. x. 10. 

Hear, O Israel : The Lord our Grod is one Lord. 
Deut. vi. 4. 

Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever 
thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even 
from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. Ps. 
xc. 2. 

Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever ; a scep- 
tre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. 
Heb. i. 8. 

Thou, liord, in the beginning hast laid the foun- 
dation of the earth, and the heaven^ are the works 
of thine hands. They shall perish, but thou remain- 
est ; and they all shall wax old, as doth a garment, 
and as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they 
shall be changed ; but thou art the same, and thy 
years shall not fail. Heb. i. 10, 11, 12, 

O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all 
flesh come. Ps. Ixv. 2. 

Thou art, O Lord, the blessed and only Poten- 
tate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords : who 
only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which 
no man can approach unto, whom no man hadi 
•een nor can see. 1 Tim. vi. 15, 16. 




O Lord, our Lord^ how excellent is thy name in 
ail the earth; who hast set thy g^oiy above the 
heavens. Ps. viii. 1. 

Lord, my God, thou art very great ; thou art 
clothed with honor and majesty. Who coverett 
thyself with light as with a garment, who stretchest 
out the heavens like a curtain. Ps. civ. 1, 2. 

Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, 
and are counted as the small dust of the balance ; 
behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing. 
All nations before him ar^ as nothing; and they 
are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity. 
Is. xl 15. 17. 

1 blessed the Most High, and I praised and hon- 
ored him that liveth forever, whose dominion la an 
everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is firom 
generation to generation. And he doeth according 
to his will in the army of heaven, and among the 
inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay his 
hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? Dan. 
iv. 34, ;i5. 

^The earth is full of thy riches ; so is this great 
and wide sea. Ps. civ. 24. 25. 

The eyes of all wait upon thee ; and thou givest 
them *their meat in due season. Thou openest 
thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living 
thing. Ps. cxlv; 15, 16. 

Thou preservest man and beast Ps. xzxvi. 6 


Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord? 
who can ^ow forth «]1 hie^pfaise ? Ps. cvi. 2. 

Among the gods there is none like ainto thee, 
Lord, neither are there any works like unto &y 
works. For thou art great, and dost wondrous 
things ; thou art God alone. Ps. Ixxxvi. 8. 10. 

Who in the heaven can be compared unto the 
Lord ? Who among the sons of the mighty can be 
likened unto the Lord ? Ps. Ixxxix. 6. 

O Lord, how manifold are thy works ; in wisdom 
hast thou made them alL Ps. civ. 24. 

All thy works shall praise thee, O Lord, and thy 
saints shall bless thee. They shall speak of the 
glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy powei. 
Ps. cxlv. 10, 11. 

The eyes of the Lord are in every place, behold- 
ing the evil and the good. Pro v. xv. 3. 

All things are naked and opened unto the eyes 
of him with whom we have to do. Heb. iv. 13. 

Whither shall 1 go from thy Spirit? or whither 
shall I flee from thy presence P If I ascend up into 
heaven, thou art there. If I make my bed in hell, 
behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the 
morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the 
sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy 
right hand shall hold me. Ps. cxxxix. 7 — 10. 

In [thee] we live, and move, and have our 
being. Acts xvii. 28. 

Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and 
canst not look on iniquity. Hab. i. 13. 

For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in 


*ifvickedne88 ; neither €diall evil dwell with thee. 
Ptf. V. 4. 

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and 
honor, and power ; for thou hast created all things, 
and for thy pleasure they^ are and were created*. 
Rev. iv. 11. ' 

Know ye that the Lord he is God ; it is he that 
hath made us, and not we ourselves : we are his 
people, and the sheep of his pasture. Ps. c. S. 

What is man, that thou art mindful of him ? and 
the son of man, that thou visitest him? Ps. viii. 4. 

The heavens declare the glory of God, -and the 
firmament showeth his handy work. Ps. xix. 1. 

Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised ; and 
his greamess is unsearchable. Ps. cxiv. 3. 

Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord? 
Who can show forth all his praise ? Ps. cvi. 2. 

He telleth the number of tlie stars ; he calleth 
them all by their names. Great is our Lord, 
and of great power ; his understanding is infinite. 
Ps. cxlvii. 4, 5. 

. Clouds and darkness are round about him ; 
righteousness and judgment are the habitation of 
his throne. Ps. xcvii. 2, 

. O Lord, how manifold are thy works ; in wisdom 
hast thoH made them all : the earth is full of thy 
riches. Ps. civ. 24. 

O come, let us worship and bow down ; let ui 
kneel before the Lord our maker. Ps. xcv. 6. 

For he is our God ; and we are the people of 
his pasture,<and the sheep of his hand. Ps. xcv. 7. 



O Lord, to U8 belongeth confusion of hce^ be- 
cause we have sinned against tbee. Dan. ix. 8. 

Behold I am vile ; what shall I answer thee ? I 
wiU lay mine hand upon my mouth. Job, zL 4 

Behold, he putteth no trust in hissnints ; yea, the 
heavens are not clean in his sight How much 
more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh 
iniquity like water ! Job xv. 15, 16. 

Father, I have sinned against heaven and in ihy 
sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. 
Luke XV. 21. 

If we will contend with him, we cannot answer 
him one of a thousand. If I justify myself, mine 
own mouth shall condemn me; if I say, I am 
perfect, it shall also prove me perverse. Job 
ix. 3. 20. 

If thou, Lord, shouldst mark iniquity, O Lord, 
who shall stand ? Ps. cxxx. 3. 

They are all gone aside ; they are all together 
become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, 
not one. Ps. xiv. 3. 

Having the understanding darkened, being alien- 
ated fi-pm the hfe of God through the ignorance 
that is in them, because of the blindness of^ their 
heart Eph. iv. 18. \ 

My people have committed two evils. They 
have forsaken me, the Fountain of living waters, 
and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that 
can hold no wateT. Jei. u. 13. 


The heart is deceitful above all things, and des- 
perately wicked ; who can know it ? Jer. xvii. 9. 

He hath not dealt with us after our sins, nor re- 
warded us according to our iniquities. Ps. ciiL 10. 

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive our- 
selves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess 
our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our 
sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 
1 John i. 8, 9. 

How have I hated instruction, and my heart 
deepised reproof! And I have not obeyed the 
voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to 
them that instructed me ! Prov. v. 12, 13. 

Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done 
this evil in thy sight. Ps. li. 4. 

And now, O our God, what shall we say after 
this? for we have forsaken thy commandments. 
Elzra, ix. 10. 

that my head were waters, and mine eyes a 
fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night 
for the slain of the daughter of my people. Jer. 
iz. 1. 

1 have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy 
servant, for I do not forget thy coinmandment. 
Ps. cxix. 176. 

Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth ; for the 
Lord hath spoken, I have nourished and brought 
up children, and they have rebelled against me. 
Is. L 2.. 

There is no soundness in my flesh.....neither is 
there any rest in my bones, because of my sin. 
Ps. xxxviii. 3. 


Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust 
ashes. Job xlii. 6. 

my Grod, I am ashamed, and blush to lift up 
my face to thee, my God; for .our iniqnities ar6 
increased over our head, and our tilespass is grown 
unto the heaven. Ezra ix. 6. 

We have sinned, and have conrniitted iniquitf, 
and have rebelled, even by departing from thy pre- 
cepts, and from thy judgments. Dcin. ix. 5. 

How then can man be justified with God? or 
how can he be clean that is bom of a woman ? 
Job XXV. 4. 

From the sole of the foot even unto the head, 
there is no soundness in it. Is. i. 6. 

Behold, O Lord, for I am in distress; my bowels 
are troubled, mine heart is turned within me ; for 
I have grievously rebelled. Lam. i. 30. 

1 have sinned ; what shall I do unto thee, O thoa 
Preserver of men ? Job vii. 20. 

Wherefore doth a living man complain ; a man 
for the punishment of his sins ? Lam. iii. 39. 
For mine iniquities are gone over mine head, as 
^ a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me. Ps. 
xxxviii. 4. 


And now. Lord, what wait I for ? my hope is in 
thee. Deliver me from all my transgressions-; 
make me not the reproach of the foolish. Pa 
sxxix. 7, 8. 


Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy 
loving kindness ; according to the multitude of thy 
tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash 
me thoroughly from, mine if^quity, and cleanse me 
from my sin. Ps. IL 1, 2- 

Be merciful to [my] unrighteousness, and [my] 
«ns and iniquities remember no more. Hebrews 
viii. 12. 

Enter not into judgmei^ with thy servant ; for 
in thy sight shall no man hving be justified. Ps. 
ezliii. 2. 

And now, I beseech thee, let the power of my 
Lord be great, according as thou hast spoken, say- 
ing, the Lord is long-suffering, and of great mercy, 
for^ving iniquity and transgression. Numbers 
xiv. 17, 18. 

O Lord, pardon^ mine iniquity, for it is great 

Ps. XXV. 11. 

Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me; O Lord, make 
haste to help me. Ps. xl. 13. 

O remember not against us former iniquities: 
let thy tender mercies speedily prevent us. Ps. 
txxix. 8. 

Show us thy mercy, O Lord, and grant us thy 
salvation. Ps. Ixxxv. 7. 

Create in me a new heart, O God ; and renew a 
a right spirit within me. Cast me not away fit)m 
thy p^iesence, and take not thy Holy Spirit from 
me. Ps. h. 11, 1^: 

Make me to hear joy ahd gladness ; that th(i 
bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Pa^ 
IL 8. 


Lead us not into temptation ; but deliver us from 

evil. Mat. vi. 13. 

Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold won- 
drous things out of thy law. Ps. cxix. 18. 

Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a 

plain path, because of mine enemies. Ps. xxvii. 11. 

God be merciful to me a sinner. Luke xviii. 13. 

Order my steps in thy word ; and let not any 

iniquity have dominion over me. Ps. cxix. 133. 

Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practise 
wicked works with men tliat work iniquity. Ps. 
cxli. 4. 

Cleanse thou me from secret faults ; keep back 
thy servant also from presumptuous sins ; let them 
not have dominion over me. Ps. xix. 12, 13. 

So teach us to number our days, that we may 
i^iply our hearts unto wisdom. Ps. xc. 12. 

O remember not against us former iniquities ; let 
thy tender mercies speedily prevent us ; for we are 
brought very low. Let the sighing of the prisoner 
come before thee. Ps. Ixxix. 8. 1 1. 

Be not a terror unto me— let them be confounded 
that persecute me — let them be dismayed. J^. 
xvii, 17, 18. 

Let those that fear thee turn unto me, and tbost 
that have known thy testimonies. Ps. cxix. 79. 

Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips, and 
from a deceitful tongue. Ps. cxx. 2. 

Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us; 
and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; 
yea, the work of our hands, establish thou it Fil 
XC 17. 



Help US, O God of our salvation, for the glory of 
thy name; and deliver us, and purge away our sins, 
fbr thy name's sake. Ps. Ixxix. 9. 

For thou. Lord, art good, and ready to forgive ; ' 
and plenteous in mercy to all them that call upon 
thee. Thou, O Lord, art a God, full of compassioD 
and gracious, long-suffering, and plenteous in mer- 
cy and truth. Ps. Ixxxvi. 5. 15. 

And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with 
the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And he is 
die Propitiation for our sins. 1 John, ii. 1, 2. 

Remember the word unto thy servant, unon 
which thou hast caused me to hope. I entreated 
thy favor with my whole heart ; be merciful unto 
me according to thy word. Ps. cxix. 49. 58. 

I^t thy tender mercies come unto me, that I mqr 
live ; for thy law is my delight Ps. cxix. 77. 

Uphold me, according to thy word, that I may 
fire ; and let me not be ashamed of my hope. Ps. 
exix. 116. 

How much more shall the blood of Christ, who, 
throu^ the Eternal Spirit, ofiered himself without 
spot to God, purge your conscience from dead 
works, to serve the living God. Rom. ix. 14. 

Restore unto me the joys of thy salvation ; and 
uphold me with thy free Spirit. Then will I teach 
transgreJMon'thy wajrs ; and sumers shall be cod- 
verted onto thee. Ps. 1L 12, l^ 

Lwd, how long shall the wicked, how k>n^ i&all 
ibe wicked triumph ? How long fdoaSk ^^'j vfiftflt 


and speak hard things? and all the woikers of 
iniquity boast themeslves ? Ps. zciv. 3, 4. 

Arise, and have mercy upon Zion ; for the time 
to favor her, yea, the set time is come- P& oil. 13. 

Have respect unto the covenant; fi)r the daik 
places of the earth are full of the habitations of 
cruelty. Ps. Ixxiv. 20. 

Bring the blind by a way that they, knew-npt.... 
lead them in paths that they have not known.... 
make darkness light before them, and crooked 
things straight. These things. . • .do unto them and 
not forsake them. Is. zlii. 16.- 

And now, I beseech thee, let the power of my 
Lord be great, according as thou hast spoken^ 
saying, The Lord is long-suffering, and of great 
mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by 
no means clearing the guilty ►- Num. xiv. 17, 18. 

To the Lord our God belong mercies and for- 
giveness, though we have rebelled against him. 
Dan. ix. 9. 

O keep my soul and deliver me : let me not be 
ashamed ; for I put my trust in thee. Ps. xxv. 2(1 

Wherefore dost thou forget us forever, and for- 
sake us so long time ? Turn thou us unto thee, O 
Lord, and we shall be turned; renew our days at 
•f old. Lam. v. 20, 2L 


My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Loid, 
in the morning vnll I direct my prayer unto thee, 
and wUl look up. ¥«. n. ^ 


O Lord my God, iii thee do I put my trust. 
Ps. vii. 1^ / 

As for ,rzie, I will behold thy face in righteous- 
ness ; I /aall be satisfied when I awake with thy 
likeness. Ps. xvii. 15. 

As fo%/me/ 1 will call upon God ; and the Lord 
shall save me. Ps. Iv. 16. 

My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed ; I 
will sing and give praise. Ps. Ivii. 7. 

But none of these things move me, neither count 
I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish 
my course i^ith joy, and the ministiy that I have 
received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospeKof 
the grace of God. Acts xx. 24. 

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 
Phil. i. 21. 

My soul, wait thou only upon God ;• for my ex- 
pectation is from him. Ps. Ixii. 5. 

O Grod, thou knowest my foolishness ; and my 
sins are not hid fi*om thee. Ps. Ixix 5. 

For thou art my hope, O Lord God*; thou art my 
trust from my youth. Ps. Ixxi 5. 

My soul longeth, yea^ even fainteth for the courts 
of the Lord ; my heart and my flesh crieth out for 
the living God. Ps. Ixxxiv. 2. 

With my soul have I desired thee in the night; 
yrea, vnth my spirit within me will I seek the« 
sarly. Is. xxvi. 9. 

In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee ; 
Tor thou wilt answer me. Ps. IxxxvL 7. 

In the multitude of my thoughts vrithin me, thy 
lomforts delight my souL Ps. xciv. 19. 


358 Albs TO DEVOTION. 

I will praise the Lord with my whole heart, ia 
the assenihly of (he upright, and in the congregB' 
tion. Ps. cxi. L 

I love the Lord, because he hath heard mj Toice 
,and my supplication. Ps. cxvi. 1. 

I will walk before the Lord in the land of the 
living : what shall I render unto the Lord for all 
his benefits toward me ? Ps. cxvi. 9. 12. 

I will take the cQp of salvation, and call upon 
the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows now 
unto the Lord, in the presence of all his people. 
Ps. cxvi. 13, 14. 

It is better to trust in the Lord, than to put con- 
fidence in man. Ps. cxviii. 8. 

I will keep thy statutes ; O forsake me not utter- 
ly. Ps. cxix. 8. 

Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his 
way? by taking heed thereto, according to thy 
word. Ps. cxix. 9. 

I have chosen the way of truth ; thy judgments 
have I laid before me. Ps. cxix. 30. 

Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of 
my pilgrimage. Ps. cxix. 54. 

I hate vain thou^ts ; but thy law do I love. 
Ps. cxix. 113. 

How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, 
O God ; how great is the sum of them ! Psalm 
czxxix. 17. 

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou 
wilt revive me; thou shalt stretch forth thine hand 
against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right 
jiaud shall save ta^ "Pa. cxxxsvi^. 7 . 


O Lord, truly I am thy servant ; I am thy ser- 
Tant, and the son of thine handmaid. Ps. C2nd. 16L 

THANKS Givme. 

Blees the Lord, O my soul ; and all that is within 
me, bless his holy name. Ps. ciii. 1. 

I will extol thee, my God, O King: and will bless 
thy name forever and ever. Every day will I bless 
thee ; and I will praise thy name forever and ever. 
Ps. cxlv. 1, 2. 

give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; 
for his mercy endureth forever.. Ps. exxvi. 1. 

He maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the 
good; and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust. 
Mat. V. 45. 

1 will praise thee, for I am fearfully and wonder- 
fully made ; marvellous are thy works, and that my 
soul knoweth right Well. Ps. cxxxix. 14. 

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures ; 
he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth 
my soul : he leadeth me in the paths of righteous^ 
ness for his name's sake. Ps. xxiii. 2, 3. 

God so loved the world, that he gave his only 
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him 
should not perish, but have everlasting life. John, 
iiL 16. 

* The Son of man is sent to seek and save that 
i^hich was lost. Luke, xix. 10. 

In this was manifested the love of God towards 
usy because that Grod sent his only begotten Son 



into the world, that we might ^ve through hhn. 
1 John, xiy. 9. 

He was wounded for our transgressions, he was 
bruised for our iniquities : the chastisement of our 
peace was upon him ; and with his stripes we are 
healed. Is. liii. 5. 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Je- 
sus Christ, which, according to his abundant mercy, 
hath begotten us again unto a lively hope, by the 
resurrection of Jesus, Christ from the dead, to an 
inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that 
fadeth not away. 1 Pet. i. 3, 4. 

In whom we have redemption through- his blood, 
the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of 
his grace. £ph. i. 8. 

In the day when I cried, thou answeredst me, 
and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul. 
Ps. cxxxviii. 3. 

Unless the Lord had been my help, my soul had 
almost dwelt in silence. When I said, My foot slip- 
peth ; thy mercy, O Lord, held me up. Ps. xdv. 
17, 18. 

sing unto the Lord a new song : sing unto the 
Lord, all the earth. Declare his glory among the 
heathen : show forth his salvation from day to day. 
Ps. xcvi. 1, 2, 3. 

It is a good thing tO give thanks unto the Lord, 
and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High. 
Ps. xcii. 1. 

1 will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever : 
with my mouth will i make known thy faithfulness 

.to all generatioQB. Ya. \xxx\x.. \. 


Great is -thy mercy toward me : and thou hast 
delivered my soul from the lowest helL Psalm 
Ixxxvi. 13. 

Oh that men would^praise the Lord for his good- 
ness, and for his wonderful works to the children 
of men. Ps. cvii. 15. 

Be thou exalted, O' Grod, above the heavens ; and 
thy glory above all the earth. Ps. cviii. §. 

I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep ; for 
thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety. Ps. 
iv. 8. 

The Lord preserveth the simple ; I was brought 
low, and he helped me. For thou hast delivered 
my «oul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my 
feet fi^m falling. Ps. cxvi. 6. 8. 

Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with 
benefits, even the God of our salvation. Psalm 
ixviii. 19. 

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that 
while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 
Rom. V. 8. 

Offer unto God thanksgiving ; and pay thy vows 
unto the Most High. Ps. L 14 

Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, 
and cry aloud ; and he shall hear my voice. Ps. 
Iv. 17. 

Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Zion; and 
unto thee shall the vow be performed. Ps. Izv. 1. 

Txuly God is good to Israel, even to such as are 
of a clean heart. Ps. Ixxiii. 1. 

So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture, will 
give thee thanks forever ; we will show forth thy 
praise to all generationB. Pa. Ixxol. \^ 


Gloiy to God in the highest; and on earth peaces 
good will towards men. Luke, ii. 14. 


Now unto the King, eternal, immortal, inviable, 
the only wise God, be honor and glory, forever and 
ever. Amen. 1 Tim. i. 17. 

Blessing and honor, and glory and power, be 
imto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto 
the Lamb forever and ever. Rev. v. 13. 

Now unto him that is able to keep [us] fit>m fidl- 
ing, and to present [us] faultless before the presence 
of his gl(N*y with exceeding joy, to the only wise 
God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion 
and power, both now and ever. Amen. Jude, 
24, 25. 

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abun- 
dantly above all that we ask or think, according to 
the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in 
th^ church, by Christ Jesus, throughout all ages, 
world without end. Amen. Eph. iii. 20, 21. 


Invocation* — ^** Hearken unto the voice of my cry, 
my King and my Grod, for unto thee will I pray." 

Adoration, — ^** Thou art God, and hone else ; thy 
name alone is Jehovah, the Most High." 

Confession. — ^*^I acknowledge my transgres»on, 
and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee 
onlyf havis I sinned^ and done this evil' in thy 


PdiHon.--^ Hide thy face from my sms, imd Mot 
out all ray iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, 
O God ; renew a right spirit within me. 

" Cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary." 

Pleading, — ^** For thy mercies' sake, O Lord, sare 
me. Our fathers cried unto thee, and were deliv- 

Sdf'ded%eaH&n.—''l wiU delight myself in thy 
commandments, which I have loved. I hare 
sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy 
righteous judgments." 

Tlianksgiving, — ^''My mouth shall praise thee 
with joyful lips. 

^ O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his 
holy name, who forgiveth all thy sins, who healeth 
all thy diseases, who redeemeth thy life fro^i de- 
struction, and crowneth thee wi& loving kindnev 
and tender mercies." 

Bkssing, — ** Now unto the King, eternal, immor- 
tal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glo- 
ly, forever and ever. Amen." , 


O thou eternal and ever blessed Crod, who aiC 
the Author and Giver of every good gift, and who 
bast promised so many and such great blessings te 
them ttiat call upon thee, hear me now, I beaeeck 
thee, through Jesus Christ. 

Lord, I confess my utter inability to seek thee 
•right. I am encompassed with infirmities ; I ae- 
Jmowledge my indisposition to fvca^Q>t\ 1 Wnv^ 


my backwardness and reluctance to hold converse 
with God. 

Teach me rightly to feel this my weakness and 
. helplessness. Give me a more complete knowl- 
edge of my insufficiency. Convince me of the 
need that I have of thy divine assistance, and grant 
me earnest desires after thy salvation. Create in 
me a hungering and thirsting afler righteousness. 
Impart to me a holy liber^ of soul in calling upon 
thee. Heavenly Father, Fountain of light and life, 
I do not ask for earthly riches, vain pleasures, hu- 
man honors ; but I do humbly ask for the Spirit of 
prayer, for the heart ever prepared and ready to 
call upon God. 

It is thy promise that thou wilt ^ve the Holy 
Spirit to them that ask. I ask, do thou give; I 
seek, grant that I may find ; I knoek, let it be 
opened unto me. Help 'me to pray in the Holy 
Ghost. Help me to live daily in constant believing 
prayer. Lord,, teach me to pray. 

By nature proud and self-sufficient,. I am prone 
to think and act as if 1 needed not thy help ; but 
O teach me to know how poor and how needy I 
really am ; aAd knowing my great and many ne- 
cessities, and my entire dependence on thee, giTe 
roe the disposition,^ from day to day,,faid from, hour 
to hour,. to seek thy help and strength* 

Enable me entireLy to confide in: tfay akni|^^ 
power, thy boundless compassion, thy infinite love, 
and thy amazing mercy. Let tfie gift of tfay Sob 
Jesus Christ,, and his intercession for sinnen^ es- 
eoungQ mo to ap]^ioacki \h^^. l^^V^ tsa to pnyt 


relying on bis merits, and through him may I learn 
to come boldly to the throne of grace. 

Let nothing keep me from God. May I re- 
nounce all known sin, and all carnal indulgences, 
and not be conformed to this worM. Enable me 
to resist the temptations of Satan, to watch against 
self-righteousness and spiritual pride, and never to 
neglect the study of thy word. 

Give me grace, whenever 1 seek thee, to look for 
the aid of thy Holy Spirit, to trust only in the name 
of thy Son, and to watch unto prayer. Let me not 
be rash with 'my mouth ; but, meditating before I 
pray, may I ask in faith, in simplicity of mind, with 
filial freedom of spirit, in sincerity of heart, and 
fervency of desire, praying always with all prayer, 
and watching thereunto with all perseverance. 
And, after having done all, may I ever consider 
myself an unprofitable servant. 

Grant me thy Holy Spirit to help my infirmities, 
for I know not what to pray for as 1 ought ; grant 
me thy Holy Spirit to make intercession for me 
with groanings which cannot be uttered. 

Give me, O give me this great gifl, the Spirit of 
grace and supplication, for thy dear Son's sake, 
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 


Merciful Gpd, give ear unto me, when I cry to 
thee, in ^e name of Jesus Christ. My voice shalt 
thou hear in the morning, O Lord ; in the morning 
will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up. 
Jjordf help me to pray. 



Great is the need that I have to seek the Loid 
while he may be found, and to call upon him whik 
he is near. I know that in me, that is, in my fleeli, 
dwelleth no good thing. The things of the woiid, 
the lust of the eye, and the lust of the flesh, and the 
pride of life, are continually tempting me, and lead- 
ing me astray from thee. My afiections towardi 
thee, my Grod, are cold and dull. My tempers an 
often unsanctified. I am prone to depart from 
thee, and lukewarm and indifferent when I ooglit 
to have a holy zeaL I too much^ieglect and triie 
with my own salvation, and the salvation of fflj 
relatives and friends. I have little of that spir- 
itual mind which is life and ()eace. My tempti- 
tions are many, I often yield to them ; I have no 
strength of my own to resist them. 


I beseech thee therefore, O my God, to be veiy 
merciful to me a sinner, incline and enable me to 
come to Jesus Christ, weary and heavy laden as I 
am, and may I find rest in him. Teach me my own 
guilt and niin ; and help me to rely on his blood, 
uud build all my hopes on his righteousness. God 
grant that, being grafted in Christ, I may live to 
him. Suffer me not to deceive myself by a mew 
form and profession of religion ; but give nte true 
faith that I may really abide m Chnst and beir 
much fruit Quicken thou my soul. Make my 
heart pure, humble, and devout ; and my convent- 
tion holy and heavenly. Thou art my Rock, and 
in thee do 1 truSL T\io\i «x\.iiiY Strength, O estab- 


lish me. Help me to live near to thee all the day 
long ; and do thou preserve me firom that sin which 
cloes so easily beset me. 

Give me grace this day to overcome temptation, 
and to mortify all my corrupt affections. Grant 
unto me the abundance of thy Holy Spirit. Lord, 
I deserve not the blessing: I have forfeited the 
mercy : but, O thou with whom is the residue of 
the Spirit, for the glory of thy name, and according 
to thy faithful promise, give me thy Spirit, that I 
may never dishonor thee by inconsistency and un- 
fruitfulness, but abound in every good work, and 
walk worthy of the gospel of Christ. Enable me 
to begin anew this day, in seriousness, and entire 
dedication of heart to give myself to thee. 

Lord, help me this day to live in prayer, to watch 
against the peculiar temptations of my station, to 
embrace every opportunity of doing goo(), to re- 
deem the time, and to make steady advances in that 
narrow way which leadeth to eternal life. 


And while I pray to thee for those mercies 
which I need, I would, from the heart, thank thee 
ibr all those great blessings which 1 have received, 
and do from day to day enjoy. The benefit of 
quibt repose, the renewal of my strength, the light 
which I enjoy, and the better light of life ; these, 
and all the mercies which surround me on awa- 
king, call for my unfeigned thanksgiving, and I do 
praise and bless thee for them. Blessed be ihou 
fbr redeeming mercy. Blessed be thou, thai 1«shs& 


died for Binnera, eveu for me. Thanks be unto 
thee, that grace, pardon, peace, strength, the Holy 
Spirit, and eternal life, are given to sinners, through 
faith in Christ Unto him that loved us, and wash- 
ed us from our sins in his own blood, and hall 
made us to be kings and priests unto Grod, and Iff 
Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and 
ever. Amen. 


O Lord God, let the bright gloiy and happy 
dominion of our Lord Jesus Christ spread throagb 
the world. Increase both the number and the zeal 
of those seeking the good of Sion and the enlarge- 
ment of thy Son's kingdom. Grant thy blessing to 
every effort to make the unsearchable riches of 
Christ known to the Gentiles. Give unto thy peo- 
ple Israel the new heart and the new spirit. Bleaa 
our favored country, so that it may be a highly 
honored instrument in diffusing the hght of tnith 
abroad ; and grant that every exertion for that end 
may be a means of reviving true religion in all our 
hearts at home. Bless all in authority. Let thy 
priests be clothed with righteousness, and thy peo- 
ple sing for joy. May peace and mercy, be granted 
to all my relatives, and rest on my oivn soul, and ia 
my own family. May we and all thy people be 
united in one heart and mind in thy service and 
love, praying for each other, bearing one another^ 
burdens, and so fulfilling the law of Christ. Hear 
me, for his name's sake. Amen. 



Lord God Almighty, my God, my refuge, and 
my strength, incline my heart to seek thee in the 
name of Jesus Christ, and hear my prayer for his 

It is one of my highest privileges, and of toy 
greatest mercies, that thine ear is ever open to the^ 
prayer of those that call upon thee. Give me, then, 
thy Spirit, that I may at all times call upon the 
name of ^the Lord. At evening, at morning, and 
at noon-day, will I pray, and thou shalt hear my 

1 am, indeed, a sinful and a needy creature. 
My wants are many, and my necessities are urgent. 
My faith is weak, my repentance imperfect, my 
affections are wandering; my heart is hard, my 
pride is great, and my sins are innumerable. I fail 
continually, both in love to thee and love to my 
neighbor, and am verily guilty and deeply polluted 
in thy sight. 

Yet still, O Lord, though I have sinned, I have 
an Advocate with thee, Jesus Christ the righteous, 
who is the propitiation for our sins. O grant me 
fidth in him, that 1 may^be justified freely by thy 
grace, through his redemption ; be accepted in that 
beloved Son ; and be a partaker of his Spirit. 

Lord, make me hate and loathe eveiy iniquity. 
Strengthen me to resist every temptation. Give 
me grace to put my whole trust in th«e, to love 
thee supremely and constantly, to honor thy holy 
name, and to serve thee truly all tha tej% q'^ \jk| 
Jjfe, Teach me to do^thy wiW, O m^ Qiq^^^s\^\^ 


thy good Spirit lead me into the land of upright- 
ness. Give me grace to love my neighbor as my- 
self, to reverence my superiors, to injure no one, tc 
be temperate and chaste. Let me not be slothfiil 
in business, but fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. 

Lord, hast thou not said, when the poor an^ 
needy seek water, and there is none, and their 
tongue faileth for thirst ; I the Lord will hear them^ 
I the God of Israel will not foisake them ? O Lord, 
I am poor and needy, and my soul liiirsteth for 
thee. Hear me; let me drink of the waters of 
life— never leave me, nor forsake me. Let me find 
thee, and live in thy presence, where alone is ful- 
ness of joy. 

Grant, Lord of all power and love, that thy glory 
may be revealed to the heathen, and that all flesh 
may see it together. Lift up the light of thy counte- 
nance upon thy people. Build up the waste places 
of Sion. Send laborei-s into thy vineyard. 

Bless all in authority, the Ministers of thy Gospel, 
and all the people. Impart thy mercy and grace to 
my dear relations, to all who pray for me, and all 
for whom I ought to pray. Be gracious to those in 
distress. Grant to mine enemies, if I have any, thy 
pardoning mercy and sanctifying Spirit, and rewaid 
seven-fold into their bosom those from whom 1 
have received benefits and kindness. 

Lord God of my salvation, every day will I bless 

thee, and I will praise thy name for ever and ever. 

Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and 

his greatness is unsearchable. The Lord is gracious 

and full of compassion, b\ov? Xo wv^^^^^sxA <s€ ^gxax 


mercy. Thou keepest me from day to day in safety 
and hast blessed me with innumerable mercies. 

I thank thee for every prayer heard and answer- 
ed, and for every good received. But thou hast 
commended thy love above all, in that while we. 
were yet sinners Christ died for us. He shed his 
blood for me ; and how can I love, and praise, and 
serve thee as I ou^ht ! O help me to live in all 
things to thy glory, for the only sake of Jesus Christ 
my Lord and Saviour. Amen. 


Gracious and merciful God, slow to anger, great 
in power, and rich in mercy to all them that call 
upon thee, help me pow so, in the name of Christy 
to ask, that I may have ; and so to seek that I may 

Enter not into judgment with me, O Lord, for 
in thy sight I cannot be justified. However un- 
blamable I may appear before men, before Him 
who knows the heart, I confess and would mourn 
over innumerable sins in the past day, and in every 
day of my life. 

I I acknowledge ^ith shame and sorrow my hy- 
pocrisy and pride, my vanity aud selfishness, my 
unbelief and impatience, my self-indulgence and 
self-righteousness, my obstinacy and self-will, 'my 
disregard of thy law and thy glory, my living to 
myself and not to thee. And, O how hard is my 
heart, that feels so little the guilt and the evil c^ 
so many and such great sins I 


Lord of all power and might, soften and break 
this hard heart. Give me a contrite spirit. There 
is mercy with thee. There is forgiveness with thee* 
O may thy great mercy be displayed towards me, 
in pardoning all my sin^ and in renewing my soul. 
Give me penitence, faith, and self-denial. Bestow 
on me the graces of sincerity, humility, and love. 

May the love of Christ be more known and felt 
by me ; and let it constrain me to live not to myself, 
but to him that died for me. Grant me thy Holy 
Spirit, teaching those things of which I am igno- 
rant, taking of the things of Christ to show them 
unto me, and daily sanctifying my heart 

I ask for heavenly wisdom, holy simplicity, ar- 
dent zeal, and purity of heart Incline me to 
study to be quiet, and to do my own business, and 
to work with my own hands. Prepare me^ day by 
day, more and more, for the coming of our Lord 
Jesus Christ Make me meet to be a partaker Of the 
inheritance of the saints in light. 

I commend myself to thy care during the night. 
May I lie down at peace with thee, through Christ, 
and in peace with all the world. 

O Lord, though I be unworthy through my man- 
ifold transgressions, to approach (hee at all, yet thou 
hast commanded that intercessions be made for 
all men ; hear me, therefore, unworthy though I be, 
in behalf of all that need my prayers. May the 
Lord comfort his people, and have mercy upon his 
afflicted. Let all nations whom thou hast made 
come and worship before thee and glorify thy 
name. Let every o'teaaXft -wYivitvTisKs VssLdfiT the 
progress of tby truth b© i^moN^ Vu xosstwi, ^^^a®. 


all the members of the Church of Christ, and all his 
ministers, and especially those with whom I am 
more intimately connected. 

Give to my parents, my brothers, my sisters, and 
my relatives, all those temporal and spiritual bless- 
ings of which they stand in need. Bless my su- 
periors, my companions, and all about me. Con- 
tinue the blessing of peace to my country. Pardon 
any who may have injured me ; and if I have in- 
jured any, may I be ready to confess my fault, and 
to make restitution for any vn'ong done, and may 
they be disposed to forgive me. 

I would not, O thou gracious Giver of every good, 
close my evening prayer, without offering up, 
through Christ Jesus, my sincerest thanksgiving for 
all the mercies of the past day. For any help 
vouchsafed in my duties ; for any stand which I 
may have been enabled to make against Satan, 
and the world : for any measure of light and 
knowledge, or grace, given unto me, all praise, all 
glory be to thee. If 1 am still kept in thy way, and 
yet spared from that ruin which I have deserved* 
while I live, let me praise and bless thee. 

How great is the sum of thy mercies ! When 
I look back on thy past blessings, when I read 
thy promises relating to that which is to come, and 
when 1 look around me on every side, and especial- 
ly when I regard that cross on which thy Son died 
fiir sinners, I would say from the heart. My mouth 
•shall speak the praise of the Lord, and let all flesh 
bless his holy name for ever. Amen and Amen. 

Hear me, for the only sake^of Jesvia CJtesSu 



Almighty God, the Father of oiir Lord Jesus 
Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and 
earth is named, who hast said that thou Mrilt be the 
God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be 
thy people ; dispose our hearts, by the gracious 
influence of thy Holy Spirit, to worship thecf 
through one Mediator, Jesus Christ our' Lord. 


Accept, through thy Son Jesus Christ, our Lord, 
our unfeigned thanksgivings for the mercies of 
another day. Thou gavest us our being, and thou 
preservest us from day to day. Through the de- 
fenceless hours of tlie night thou hast kept us in 
safety. Thou hast given us a soul capable of 
knowing and rejoicing in thee, and a body by 
which we may serve thee. 

But, O Lord, we thank thee most of all for thy 
spiritual blessings. We bless thee that we were 
not bom in heathen lands, but in this favored 
country, where the light of thy truth clearly shines. 
We thank thee for the comfort of the Holy Scrip- 
tures, for the labors of faithful ministers, and for 
all the means of grace. O how great has been thy 
love to us ! Thou sparedst not thine own Son, but 
deliveredst him up for us all, and with him thou 
hast fireely given us all things. 


What reward shaW Yie leti^et xxtAo xJaa Lord for 
all his benefits ? We d^eait^ tvoyj ^x^sSciVi ^%>4^v^ 


ourselves to thy service. We give up ourselves^ 
our whole selves unto thee. God of peace, sanctify 
us wholly. God of our life, grant that our whole 
spirit, and soul, and body, may be preserved blame- 
less unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ 


But with shame and confusion of face, we would 
confess that we have been rebellious and disobedi- 
ent. Thou art holy, but we are unholy. Thou art 
merciful, but we have ofVen been selfish and un- 
kind. Thou art pure but we are impure. Thou 
art patient, but we are impatient. We have abused, 
all thy gifts, and made them occasion 6f sin. Lord, 
we acknowledge our impenitence, we confess our 
unbelief, we bewail our self-righteousness. 


Forgive us all our offences, remember not against 
us our transgressions, but remember thy great and 
tender mercies which have been ever of 'old. 

Grant unto every one of us a saving interest in 
the death of Christ, full and free forgiveness of all 
our sins, and grace and strength to go and sin no 
more. Lord, help us to love thee, teach us to serve 
thee. Give us thy strength that we may overcome 
our corrupt nature. Grant that this day we may 
have power from on high to resist every temptation, 
to confess Christ before men, to labor steadfastly 
with a single eye to thy glory, to live in the spirit of 
prayer, in faith, humility, self-denial, and love, and 
to walk before thee in that narrow way which kada 


to eternal. life. Fill us with love to others. Teach 
us to do good to all men, and to seek according to 
our means to Tisit and relieve the fatherless and 
the widows in their affliction : and do thou keep us 
unspotted from the world. 


And hear us farther in behalf of our relations and 
friends, our neighborhood, our Minister, and all 
for whom we ought to pray. Help those that are 
weak. Comfort those that are cast dow^. Heal 
those that are sick. Reheve those that are in dis- 
tress. Be merciful unto thy Church. O bless us, and 
cause thy face to shine upon us, that thy way may 
be known upon earth, thy saving health among ail 
nations. Lord, grant that the power of the cross of 
Christ, may at length fuUy triumph over all error 
and supersition, all idolatry, and delusion, and sin. 

Gracious Lord, not for our worthiness, but for the 
only name's sake of Jesus Christ, hear these our 
prayers which we sum up in his own words. 

Our Father, dtc. 


O eternal Grod, whose name is love, and so loved 
the world that thou gavest thine only-begotton Son, 
that whosoever believeth in him should not perish 
but have everlasting life ; help us, by the Holy Spir- 
it, ta believe in Christ Jesus ; and trusting in him 
to have access unto thee. 

We feel our need o? «l ^wowt ^ot ^asftsxa^ for 
we all have sinned aad coxu^ »>asitv. q^ >Jaa ^wj ^\ 


God. When we look back even on the past day, 
thy law accuses us of many sins, and our own con- 
sciences justly condemn us. 

Grant us thy grace that we may not be haidened 
through the deceitfulness of sin. Give us true re- 
pentance, and such a sense of our sinfulness as 
may lead us to despair of salvation by any works of 
our own ; and bring us humbled and penitent to 
the foot of the cross. Help us by faith to behold 
the lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the 
world. Teach us to renounce our own righteous- 
ness, and to depend wholly on Jesus Christ. May 
we be able to say and feel, " In the Lord have I 
righteousness and strength." 

We commend ourselves to thy care during the 
night. Let no evil come nigh us. May our last 
thought be with thee ; and when we awake, may 
we be still with thee. Refresh our bodies with the 
quiet repose of the night, and renew our spiritual 

Extend thy merciful care to all that are near and 
dear to us. We pray for all our relatives. May those 
that are endeared to us by the ties of nature be yet 
more dear by the stronger bonds of grace. Grant 
that we may be all one in Christ Jesus our Lord. 
We pray for our Christian friends, for our neigh- 
bors, and all with whom we have intercourse. 

Bless those that minister before the Lord. Eve- 
ry where raise up pastors according to thine heart, 
, which shall feed thy people with knowledge and 
understanding. Grant thy blessing to every Mis- 
sionaiy now preaching Christ to the Gentiles. — 


Cause Jew and Gentile, to turn to the Lordy that 
they may be flaved. Bring on the happy day, 
when there shall be one fold and one Shepherd ; 
and they shall not hurt, nor destroy in all thy holy 

O thou giver of every» good and perfect gift, we 
praise and bless thee for thy great and continued 
mercies to us. All things thou givest to us richly 
for enjoyment. We receive from thee full provis- 
ion for all our temporal wants, and thou fbrgivest 
our iniquities. 

Behold what manner of love thou our Father hast 
bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons 
of God! God of mercy,.grant, only grant, that 
we may be followers of thee as dear children, and 
show forth thy praise, not only with our lips, but in 
our lives, through Jesus Christ. 

The Lord bless us, and keep us. 

The Lord make his face to shine upon us and be 
gracious unto us. 

The Lord lift up his countenance upon us, and 
give us peace. 

And now blessing, and honor,, and glory and 
power, be unto Him#that sitteth upon the throne, 
and unto the Lamb, forever and ever. Amen. 


Gracious Saviour, who hast said, Suf^ little 
children to come unto me, and forbid them not, re- 
gard with thy favor, every effort to bring up chO- 
dren in the uurtviie and ^rosaifii^scL «€ the Lord. 


Give, holy Lord, we beseech thee, wisdom and 
discretioD, patience, kindness and perseverance to all 
who conduct schools. Bless those who endeavor 
to instruct the young. Do thou teach them that 
they may teach others. 

Heavenly Father, grant that the children of this, 
school may receive with an humble, teachable, and 
ready mind, all the instructions given to them ac- 
cording to thy word. Give them thy grace while 
young, that early seeking Jesus their Saviour, they 
may find him. Let them remember their Creator 
in the days of their youth. Teach them to honor 
tlieir parents and superiors, and to be kind and to 
be full of love towards each other. God grant that 
they may all be trained up in the way in which 
they should go, and when they are old never depart 
from it — May the knowledge of the Lord be uni- 
versally diffused, till at length all shall "know thee 
from the least to the greatest, through Jesus Christ 
our Lord. Amen. 


O Thou whose name^ is Holy, who hast required 
that we confess our faults one to another : we" 
would now confess our many and our great sins. 
We have often sinned against thee, and against each 
other, in thought, word, or deed. O forgive otir 
hardness of heart, and our earthly mindedness ; 
all our want of charity, all our hastiness of spirit, 
all our bad temper, and every sinful actidiL 

For thine own name's sake, blot out our trans- 
gresBJoas, and remember no! owx »3i^ 


' Lord of all grace, help us ever hereafter to walk 
worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called. 
May we with all lowliness, and meekness, with 
long-suffering, forbearing one another in love, en- 
deavor to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of ' 
peace. Give us grace so to live, that we may find 
more and more how good and how pleasant it is for 
brethren to dwell together in unity. 

Give unto each of us grace to fulfil our duties to- 
wards each other. As parents, may we bring up our 
children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord* 
and as children, obey our parents in all things ; as 
masters may we give unto our servants that which 
is just and equal, remembering that we also have a 
master in heaven ; and as servants, be obedient in 
singleness of heart, as unto Christ ; as husbands, lov- 
ing our wives, even as Christ also loved the Church, 
and dwelling with them according to knowledge; as 
vnves, being in subjection to the husband, and hav- 
ing on the ornaments of a meek and quiet spirit. 

We ask for blessings on our native land. Lord, 
we would sigh before thee for all the abominations 
of our country. O how the swearer, the Sabbath- 
breaker, the covetous, the licentious, and the blasphe- 
mer abound on every side! Because of these things 
the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedi- 
ence. Spare us, good Lord, spare us for thy name's 
sake. Grant, we beseech thee, that as we have been 
peculiarly distinguished by thy mercies, so it may 
have to be said of us, " Surely this great nation is 
ti wise and understanding people, for what nation is 
there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them as 


the Lord our Grod is in all things that we call upon 
him for?" 

Pour out of thy Spirit on all who have the direc- 
tion of public affairs ; on all who minister in holy 
things ; on the magistrates, and on the people ; that 
a general ^vival of religion may appear ^mong 
us. Cause thy Church every where to flourish and 
increase. We pray especially for an increase of 
the zeal, purity and love, humility and devotion, of 
thy people. Let Zion break forth on the right hand 
and on the lefL Add daily to thy Church, in our 
own country, and in heathen lands, such as 
shall be saved. Bless every Missionary gone forth 
to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of. 
Christ, and may more and more grace be given un- 
to them all, that they may labor zealou&dy, wisely, 
and abundantly in thy cause. 

And now. Lord, accept our unfeigned thanksgiv- 
ings, for all those blessings which we daily so rich- 
ly enjoy. We thank thee more especially for those 
many dear ties of relationship, aflection, and Chris- 
tian principles, which bind us together. We bless 
thee for all that sympathy of feeling and imion of 
heart which thou hast given us ; and we pray that 
we may be more and more knit togther in Christian ^ 

But, beyond aU other mercies, we bless thee for 
die eonunon salvation of Jesus Christ; for his 
birth, his life, his death, and his resurrection ; for all 
tfaothe was,andis,and willbe. Blessed be God for 
Ae gift of his Son Jesus Christ, our only 
^ ondj hope, and our sure refoge. Amen. 





Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, and the God of the spirits of all flesh, the 
earth is thine, and the fulness thereof the world, 
and they that dwell therein. 

We come, as sinners, but trusting in thy beloved 
Son, our Advocate, and the PiDpitiation. for our 
ans, and looking for the promised Spirit of grace 
and supplication. 

Lord, we confess before thee our own sins, and 
those of our country. Like thy people of old,while 
we have been greatly distinguished by privileges^ 
we have also been a sinful nation, a people laden 
, with iniquity, a seed of evil doers, children that are 
corrupters. We have forsaken the Lord, and have 
provoked the Holy One of Israel. And chiefly now 
we would confess our coldness and indifierence in 
extending the blessings of that glorious Grospel which 
thou hast entrusted to us. How slothful and un- 
concerned have we been to communicate to others 
the privileges which we enjoy, and to use all the 
means which thou hast given unto us of imparting 
the knowledge of Christ to distant lands ! To lu 
belong shame and confusion of face, because we 
have sinned against thee. But to the Lord our Grod 
belong mercies and fi>rgiveneeBes, though we have 
rebelled against him. 

We beseech thee give us a zeal for thy gloiy. 
Fountain of light and life, and grace, pour upon us 
thy quiekening dpVnt^Xo vxmxax^ «ad excite us to 


devote ourselves to thee. Raise up, we pray thee, 
those who shall unceasmgly pray, and give, and 
think, and labor, for the spread of thy truth. Re- 
vive the days of the primitive church, when thy 
people, walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the 
comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied. 

May the true light come more and , more to thj 
Church, and the glory of the Lord rise upon her ; 
and may the Gentiles come to this light, and kings 
to the brightne&s of thy rising. 

Lord, we plead the glory of thy great name, the 
&ithfulnes9 of thy promises, and the happiness of 
thine own creation ; and with these pleas, we ask> 
that the heathen may be given to Christ for his in- 
heritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for 
his possession. 


^ O Lord, hast thou not said, ^ It shall come topass 
in the last days that I will pour out of my Spirit 
upon all flesh ?" Behold! in these last days: give 
now to us that ask. With thee is the residue of 
the Spirit ; and the Lord's hand is not shortened 
that it cannot save, nor his ear heavy that it cannot 

Have respect unto the Covenant, for the dark pla- 
ces of the earth are full of the habitations of cru- 
elty. May the Sun of righteousness arise with 
healing in his wings, on those people now sitting in 
darkness and the shadow of death. 

We pray thee to hasten the coming on of that time, 
when it shall not be asked, Who hath belieyed ous 
report? and to whom is ih& arai oi xJaa \jsst\"sw%^i^ 


ed ? but it shall be said, The Lord hath made bare 
his holy arm in the sight of all nations, and all the 
ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. 
And grant, gracious Lord, that while the fulness 
of the Gentiles is come in, all Israel may also be sav- 
ed. May the veil which remains upon their hearts 
' when Moses is read, be takeu away by their turning 
to the Lord. May this branch which has so loDg 
been broken ofi^ at length be grafted into its own 

let the Deliverer come out of Zion : and turn 
away ungodhness from Jacob. 

And while we thus pray, we thank thee, good 
and gracious Lord, for all the blessed signs of the 
times in which we live. We bless thee for the be- 
ginning of a general desire to spread thy truth 
through the world, and that societies have been 
raised in these latter days, among all denominations 
of thy servants, for evangelizing the heathen, and 
for their conversion from dumb idols to the hving 
God. We thank thee for any success given to these 
efforts, and would thereby be encouraged to per- 
severe in more zealous labors, and more fervent 
prayers. Amen. 


On rising in thf morning, 

1 laid me down and slept ; I awaked, for thou. 
Lord, sustained me. Ps. iii. 5. 

^t noon. 
At evening, and at «\o\'\\\vk^,w£\\^\.ww«\.-day will 
I Pray, and that *\t\ata\\\\^ . Y\i. \n . VI . 


On going to bed. 

I will lay me down in peace, and take my. rest, 

for it is thou, Lord, only that makest me to dwell ib 

safety. Ps. iv. 8. 

•^ going out. 

Lord, bless my going out, and my coming in 

firom this time forth for evermore. Ps. cxxi. 8. 

In conversation. 

Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth ; keep 

thou the door of my lips. Ps. cxli. 3. 

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation 

of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, 

my Strength and my Redeemer. Ps. xix. 14. 

fVhen evU entreated. 

Father, forgive tliera, for they know not what 

they do. Luke xxiii. 34, 

Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. Acts vii. 


On any loss. 

The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away ; 

blessed be the name of the Lord. Job i. 21. 

In temptation. 

How can I do this great wickedness, and sin 

against God ? Gen. xxxix. 9. 

Lord, cleanse thou me from secret faults: keep 

back thy servant also from presumptous ans; let 

them not have dominion over me. Ps. 3dx. 12, 13 

In diffictdt circumstances. 

Cause me to know the way wherein I should 

walk, for I lift up my soul unto thee. Ps cxliii. 8. 

Lord, I am oppressed, undertake foi me, Isa 

xxxviii. 14. 


The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy 
of the Lord ui that day. 2 Tim. i. 18. 

Before prayer. 
Lord, teach us to pray. Luke xi. 1. 
Quicken us, and we will call upon thy name. PB. 
Ixxx. 18. 

Before reading the scriptures. 
Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold won- 
drous things out of thy law. Ps. cxix. 18. 
Going to public worship. 
How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! 
My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth, for the courts 
of theljord ; my heart and my flei^ crieth out for 
the living God. Ps. Ixxxiv. 1, 2. 

We will go into his tabernacle ; we will worship 
at his footstool. Ps. cxxxii. 7. 

Ihtering God's house. 
This is none other but the house of Grod, and 
this is the gate of heaven. Gen. xxviii. 17. 
On hearing the scriptures. 
Sanctify us through thy truth : thy word is truth. 
John xvii. 17. 

.^fter worship. 
The good Lord pardon every one that prepareth 
his heart to seek God, the Lord Grod of his Others, 
though he be not cleansed according to the purifi- 
cation of the sanctuary. 2 Chron. xxx. 18, 19. 






Sec. 1. 
Sec. 2. 
Sec. 3. 
Sec. 4. 
Sec. 5. 
Sec. 6. 
Sec. 7. 
Sec. 8. 

Nature of prayer. 
The dutjr of prayer. 
The privilege oi prayer. 
Objections to prayer answered. 
On secret prayer. 
On public worship. 
Family worship. 
Social prayer. 


• (?^) 

• (38 

. (44) 






Sec. 1. Invocation. .... 

Sec. 2. Adoration 

Sec. 3. Confession. .... 

Sec. 4. Petition. 

Sec. 5. Pleading. .... 

Sec. 6. Profession or Self-dedication. 

Sec. 7. Thanksgiving. 

See* 8. Blessing 

Sec. 9. Amen, or the Conclusion. 



Sec. 1. What the gift of prayer is. 

Sec. 2. Of forms of prayer. 

Sec. 3. The matter of prayer. 

Sec. 4. The method of prayer. 

Sec. 5. Expression in prayer. 

Sec. 6. The voice in prayer. 

Sec. 7, Gesture in prayer. 

„ Family prayer 

„ Of Grace before and after meat. 

See. 6. Geaeral directioni. 













288 INDEX. 



Sec. 1. What the grace of prayer is. • I 

Sec. 2. General ffraces of prayer. . .1 

Sec. 3. Graces that belong to particular parts 

of prayer 1 

Sec. 4. Directions to obtain the grace of prayer. 1 



Sec 1. Proofs of the assistance of the Spirit. 1 

Sec. 2. How far the Spirit assists in prayer. . 1 

Sec. 3. Cautions about the Spirit's influence. 1 

Sec. 4. Directions respecting the Spirit of prayer. S 





General remarks 

Selections from scripture , suited to Invocation. 

do. do. Adoration. 

do. do. Confession. 

do. do. Petition. 

do. do. Pleading. 

do. do. Profession. 

do. do. Thanksgiving. 

do. do. Blessing. 

Prayer in the language of scripture. 
Prayer for the gilt and grace of prayer. 
Private morning prayer. .... 

Private prayer at noon. 

Private evening prayer ^ . 

Morning family prayer: 

Evening family prayer 

Brief prayer for a Sunday School. 

A social prayer 

Prayer for the enlargement of Christ's kingdom. 
Ejaculatory prayers from the scriptureB. 



': 1 


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OCT 2 3 1945